PETALING JAYA: A movement to push back against hate and intolerance in Malaysia is taking hold in schools across the country, funded and supported by the #StandTogether kindness campaign.
Thousands of students have been on the frontlines of this movement, running “Kindness Projects”, participating in kindness workshops, and creating awareness on social media.
“The atmosphere was a lot kinder and happier at school after #StandTogether,” said Denise Lim, 19, one of the leaders of the movement in her school.
“I used to think that it was impossible to completely change a school’s spirit for the better, but now I know it can be done.”
The #StandTogether campaign, co-founded by property developer SP Setia and the award-winning R.AGE impact journalism team, aimed to empower students to lead a “Kindness Revolution” in Malaysia and create a new generation of kind, empathetic and united young Malaysians.
As part of the campaign, an ambitious series of free “Kindness Workshops” will go to every single state and federal territory, with the aim of training students and teachers to become “Kindness Ambassadors” in schools across the country.
Eight workshops have been held so far, equipping over 1,600 teachers and students. Another seven workshops will be held in June and July, where another 1,500 Kindness Ambassadors will be reached.
Feedback for the workshops has been overwhelmingly positive, with participants hailing the practical and interactive format, as well as the importance of the campaign’s message.
“We are humans and we live together, so we need to learn how to live together, and the best way to do that is through kindness,” said SMK Kuala Perlis student Muhammad Irfan, 16, who attended the workshop in Kedah.
Teachers and those with the Education Ministry were also extremely happy with the workshops.
“The speaker was incredibly knowledgeable and funny, which made it easy for the students to pay attention and learn.
“All the teachers at the Melaka session said it was very good, and they want more such programmes,” said Melaka State Education Department Children Affairs head of counselling Mohd Redzuan Sanusi.
The workshops were organised by Digi, with expert speakers from International Medical University (IMU) and staff volunteers from SP Setia helping to facilitate.
SP Setia Foundation chairman Tan Sri Dr Wan Mohd Zahid Mohd Nordin, a former Education Ministry director-general, said the campaign was particularly timely given the amount of hate on social media these days.
“This year’s #StandTogether theme is fantastic. There’s been too much hatred online. We’re using our platform to rouse the humanity in Malaysians,” he said.
R.AGE deputy executive editor and producer Ian Yee believed the true results of the campaign would only be felt in the years to come.
“This culture of hate and animosity we see on social media won’t change overnight. But five to 10 years from now, we’ll see new young leaders who are kind, mature and empathetic – that’s the legacy we want this campaign to leave behind,” said Yee.
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