Title: #KindnessMatters: 50 Inspiring Stories of Empathy, Compassion and Kindness
Author: UNESCO (MGIEP)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Age group: 13 years+ (Young Adults, but adults will enjoy reading as well)
Does Kindness matter? Does a small act of kindness matter? If, like me, you have ever thought that one human is too small in the grand scheme of things and one act of kindness is too insignificant to matter at all, this is the book you need to read.
The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) launched the #KindnessMatters campaign to collect powerful stories of kindness, driven by single individuals, that had a huge impact. This book is a collection of fifty of the most inspiring stories from this campaign.
Every story speaks of the immense power that human kindness has. The type of power that made a mountain climber climb up Mount Olympus for the 51st time, with a disabled twenty year old strapped on his back, because the twenty year old had expressed a wish of climbing the mountain (“The 51st Climb”).
Every story will leave your jaw hanging in awe and give you goosebumps. The one that gave me the most goosebumps was “A town of two”. After the Fukushima disaster, two men returned to the exclusion zone (declared as unsafe and unfit to live) and have since then continued to live there and eat contaminated food (initially) because they wanted to look after the many pets and cattle who were abandoned in the wake of the disaster. The men have been exposed to levels of radiation far greater than what is safe, and their story took kindness to a completely different level of selflessness for me.
Every story will also convince you that no act of kindness is too small, even a kind drawing! In the “City of Kindness”, Six year old Natasha Jaievsky drew several such drawings, with rainbows and kind messages for the world before she passed away in a car accident. Her father made posters of her drawings and pasted them in their city of Anaheim, California, where they inspired the mayor of the city to run kindness initiatives in the community and schools. People were encouraged to do a kind act every single day, and they found that crime as well as addiction rates fell tremendously in the city. The city, till date, is known as the City of Kindness!
The one message that is repeated again and again throughout all the stories is that kindness is contagious. It takes just one act of kindness to inspire another person to be kind, which makes kindness scalable and capable of bringing about positive change in the world. Read the book to get inspired, because truly #KindnessMatters.
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