Try a little kindness

Melissa Azavedo

I came across The Goodwill Tribe, whose philosophy is to inspire compassion and human connection, back in 2014 while I was skimming through my Facebook account. This social initiative was incepted in Dubai by Sonia Parekh and Chandni Sawlani, who sought to make life more meaningful and complete by making people smile and by spreading joy and love to all.

It started with a social experiment, where they took up a stall at a flea market in Dubai and offered everything on their table as a gift to the community. Every gift was wrapped with a ribbon and a handwritten note, amplifying the experience. The reaction of people and the happiness expressed really touched the duo. In time, this positive energy led to the birth of The Goodwill Tribe, which has now spread to 12 cities worldwide: Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Jaipur, Chennai, Goa, Nagpur, Dubai, London, Sydney, Munich and Kuwait City.

In all the twelve cities, The Goodwill Tribe hosts events, where kindness is extended to strangers, to help us connect with others and break the momentum of our lives. In a way, these events give us the opportunity to experience genuine love and kindness toward members of the community, and freedom from the self.

Kindness Confetti is one such event that has always turned out to be a success in this part of the Gulf. At this event, we write notes and draw sketches with positive and kind messages and distribute them to strangers. It makes those of us who organize the event believe in goodness. The space of kindness that is created by the people gracing the event is sacred, pure and full of joy and smiles.

At our latest Kindness Confetti event, we met at our usual coffee place at 5.30 pm (coincidentally, we all love F.R.I.E.N.D.S), and our kindness preparations began. The participants who preferred writing passed the words they had written on the cards to the artists to add their magic, while the artists handed their cards to the writers who translated their art into words.

This connection between the artist and the writer, and consequently between the person who hands out the card to a random stranger and the receiver, highlights the importance of reaching out to others. Though the intention is to extend happiness to others, even the ones who handed out the cards said that they felt good, having not done something nice in a really long time. We ended the event by enjoying our cup of coffee and catching up on how everyone was doing and basking in the overall feeling of goodness in the room.

Let’s not pretend it’s easy to be good all the time. Let’s fuel ourselves with kindness often because life has got no time for negativity. 

By Melissa Azavedo