SHAH ALAM: SMK Sanzac, Sabah, triumphed over 120 others to be the first school to be named “Malaysia’s Kindest School”.
Their #StandTogether “kindness project”, which consisted of a week full of activities like “plogging”, a combination of jogging and picking up trash, impressed a panel of judges that included Unicef representative to Malaysia Marianne Clark-Hattingh.
“We absolutely did not expect to win the competition because our projects seemed so simple in comparison to other schools,” said teacher adviser Lim Yi Wei.
“Our objective was to make kindness the main culture not just in the school but the district and hopefully throughout the state.
“In that regard, there’s still a lot more to go.”
But it was the simplicity and replicability of their project, titled “Being A Buddy, Not A Bully”, that won Clark-Hattingh over.
“I liked that their presentation contained a series of small projects that could together make a large impact,” she said.
SMK Sanzac kindness project team leader Nursalwani Sabdani, 17, said: “We felt that the small things are important because they’re easy enough to do every day but yet to make a difference in the long run.”
Ahead of the National Kindness Week, the top 30 schools received a RM1,000 grant each to put their proposals into action, with the top 10 schools receiving a celebrity visit and the opportunity to present their kindness projects at the carnival.
The grants were provided by #StandTogether partners SP Setia, R.AGE and Unicef Malaysia.
But there are no losers in the kindness competition. The other finalists were just as happy to have made a difference in their schools.
“We didn’t make it into the top 10, but it’s okay because we participated to spread kindness in our school and that’s what we did,” said Sri KDU Secondary School student Megan Lim, 16.
The Sri KDU team came up with a Guardian Angel programme, where seniors helped juniors anonymously to build a sense of belonging among new students.
Over 700 schools registered for the contest with nearly 120 student-led projects submitted ranging from an “OKU Cafe” to a “Kindness Marathon”.
SK Kebun Sirih teacher Sanghita Muniandy was stunned by the level of dedication of her students.
“They came up with an Honesty Shop to help their underprivileged schoolmates,” said Sanghita, who was the teacher adviser for the project.
The shop stocked donated items like stationery, books and even food which students from low-income families could take for free.
“The whole school participated in making the shop a success,” she said. “Those with pocket money to spare donated to the shop’s fund, which was used to restock supplies.”
“They donated whatever they could spare, many of them giving 10 or 20 sen each. In a week, we collected RM67.”
SK Kebun Sirih student Nor Ainaa Afifah Mohd Nadzri, 12, said: “My friends are now kinder and more helpful towards one other. The campaign has made a huge difference.”
The students were also impressed by the projects initiated by the various schools.
“I was so blown away by what they did,” said SMK Convent Light Street student Julia Hannah Zulkifli, 15.
“Schools everywhere are spreading kindness. That’s what #StandTogether is about and even though we didn’t win, I think we won the students’ hearts, and that’s the most important thing.”