KOTA KINABALU: As the #StandTogether National Kindness Week campaign wraps up its second year, a new crop of students has been inspired to carry the torch by volunteering to carry out “Kindness Projects” in their schools.
One of those schools, last year’s “Malaysia’s Kindest School” winner SMK Sanzac, Kota Kinabalu, saw its school juniors continuing the good work of their seniors, that included Muhammad Saiful Ikhwan Musa, who went on to present his school’s idea at the African Youth Development Summit in Johannesburg last November.
“Our seniors motivated us to keep the (kindness) activities going because we want to continue their legacy and uphold the school’s reputation,” said student leader Noor Cheyam Azwalina Mohd Wali.
WATCH: Rapper Rabbit Mac visits SJK (T) Tanah Rata on Day 4 of #StandTogether National Kindness Week
Their project, “Yukk Baca Yukk!” (Come On, Let’s Read!), focuses on finding personal mentors to help students learn to read.
The project made the school one of 40 secondary and primary schools who have won cash grants worth a total of RM40,000 from #StandTogether co-organisers SP Setia and R.AGE.
Unfortunately, the school could not break into the top five secondary schools in the #StandTogether Kindness Competition, and will not be in the running to defend their title this year.
However, school principal Dr Shirley Tay believes that the campaign’s core message is more important than its rewards.
“For me, it has never been about winning. It is about how much you put in and the journey that matters,” she said.
“I just want the school to hold to the principle it’s supposed to, and that is to spread kindness.”
This spirit of kindness was echoed in Sekolah Rendah Stella Maris, Ampang, where celebrity ambassador Jenn Chia was given a tour of the school’s Kindness Projects by several enthusiastic students.
The school, which was one of the top five best primary schools in the competition, developed several initiatives including a “Kindness Badge” project for the entire school of 340 students.
“Kindness Angels”, played by students, would take turns to wear badges with various moral values such as “politeness”, “respect”, and “compassion”, and had to embody that value throughout the day.
Several Year Five students also took their own initiative to start an “Anti-Bullying squad” where they worked together to develop ideas on how to be kind to one another, reported proud teacher Vashugi Venugopal.
“We found this Kindness Campaign gave the children good exposure to teamwork and kindness values, so we decided to expand on the campaign this year,” said Vashugi.
On top of a RM1,000 grant, the school also scored a visit from YouTube star Chia, who was impressed by the acts of kindness she witnessed.“One of the students told me that he chose to show kindness to someone who bullied him, and now they are best friends!” said Chia.
“These stories should motivate others as it is a powerful moment, to show that children can embody kindness and also influence adults.”
WATCH: How the #StandTogether campaign is pushing for a kinder Malaysia
The campaign has expanded far beyond school walls: over 6,000 Malaysians, including celebrities and Members of Parliament, have signed up for the interactive Kindness Challenge on WhatsApp, which wrapped up yesterday.
Participants received a new “Kindness Mission” every morning, and had 24 hours to complete it to unlock a special surprise.
The #StandTogether campaign, which is endorsed by the Education Ministry, will culminate in a free Kindness Concert on May 4, 2019 at Setia City Convention Centre 2, an event for all to stand together in celebration of a kinder Malaysia. Go to fb.com/standtogethermy for more details.