KUALA LUMPUR: Students of SK TTDI 1 broke out in cheer as comedian and #StandTogether National Kindness Week celebrity ambassador Harith Iskander entered their school hall.
The visit was held on the second day of the National Kindness Week, which is being observed in over 300 schools across the country to help end school violence and bullying.
Harith’s visit to SK TTDI 1, however, was a reward for the school’s winning entry in the #StandTogether “kindness project” competition.
The students and teachers had proposed a “kindness marathon” and “Sorry Box” where students could post messages and apologies for bad behaviour to each other.
“It’s fantastic to think that 12-year-olds came up with these ideas, and they are taking the initiative and responsibility to build the kind of the world they want to grow up in,” said Harith.
“It’s a great initiative, to be kind. It may sound a bit basic, but if we have to go back to basics to build a better Malaysia, that’s what we’re going to do,” he declared.
Harith’s wife and Fellow #StandTogether ambassador Dr Jezamine Lim was also at the event.
“This is so overwhelming!” she said as students swarmed her for autographs. “We really have to thank the guru besar (Ramnah Darus) for supporting the campaign.”
A team of five Year Six pupils drew on their own past experiences and Internet resources to come up with their two ideas.
“I was bullied before, and I wanted to stop the cycle with kindness so our juniors in Year One and Two don’t grow up to be bullies,” said team member Iman Sarah Shaiful Nadzri.
The team also designed a kindness marathon, where participants would run through a route decorated with signs promoting kindness and empathy.
“Thank you for being my friend,” said one message. Another said “I’m grateful because my teachers work so hard to educate me.”
“I came expecting a Kindness Tree, but I found a Kindness Forest!” said Unicef chief of communication and public advocacy Laurent Duvillier.
Nearly 120 “kindness project” proposals were submitted by students for the #StandTogether Competition.
#StandTogether organisers R.AGE and SP Setia had pledged to give 10 winning schools RM1,000 each in grant funding for their projects, as well as a visit from one of the campaign’s celebrity ambassadors.
Unicef Malaysia later pledged to support the campaign by funding projects from an additional 20 schools.
The top 10 schools also stand a chance to receive celebrity school visits from #StandTogether ambassadors like Harith, Jezamine, Lisa Surihani, Arwind Kumar, and Rabbit Mac throughout National Kindness Week (April 2-6). A series of educational videos was also launched by R.AGE on Monday.
New episodes featuring a different celebrity will be released every day for teachers to use in classrooms, and they can be accessed for free at www.standtogether.my.
For more updates on the National Kindness Week, follow the campaign Facebook page at facebook.com/standtogethermy.