What if…..

I’ve lived in London for over 10 years now. About 5 years ago I started to think who was my community? I had friends and work colleagues but didn’t really step outside of that. When I was 24 I was engaged, which quite a few people don’t know. I called it off and it was pretty tough. It’s partly why I became so interested in #socialgood and #community. I needed to ground myself and it helped me do that, practising random acts of kindness made me happier!

I started a social enterprise and social good group last year on Facebook and it’s been great to connect with new people, across the world. The power of ‘what if’. One member is Paa Kwesi Quainoo in Ghana who works for Clothe The Naked (CTN) Outreach a charitable organisation registered in Ghana and USA, providing support to poorer communities and orphaned children. I saw the below post in the group, so I’m crowdfunding £200 to get Greatlove a camera.

I remember when I was a child and the difference small things could make. So hopefully this will make a difference for Greatlove. I look forward to seeing the photos!

Clothe The Naked (CTN) Outreach

GreatLove

GreatLoveCamera

Notes on the Jungle

by Carmen Guillen

IMG_4817

The storms came last night and I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about the thousands of refugees all over Europe who are sleeping outside. And the sea of papery tents found in the new refugee camps that are springing up in forests, beaches and abandoned buildings.

I have just come back from the ‘Jungle’ in Calais, the biggest refugee camp in Europe, and I was not prepared for what I found there. I went to volunteer with the inspiring organisation Skipchen, and having not met them in person we were pleased to discover they were dedicated, positive, kind and culturally sensitive.

My heart sank when we arrived and were greeted with newly erected barbed wire fences, reminding me that whilst Europe has spent virtually no money getting food and clothing to refugee communities, they have spent some 2 billion euros on erecting fences and high tech security systems. A stream of families made their way on foot alongside the motorway and I saw lots of exhausted looking children with SpongeBob SquarePants backpacks.

Continue reading Notes on the Jungle

Help us set up showers for homeless people in London?

OntheStreets_KindawareCoats_donated_KindawareCareBackpacks_KindwareRoughSleepers_KindawareHittingLondon_Kindaware

Over Christmas a few of us delivered care back packs to people living on the streets. We used JustGiving Crowdfunding to raise over £1,400 to help us put them together. They included toothbrushes, toothpaste, clean underwear and socks, food vouchers, Christmas card (designed by Leon), thermals, notebook and pens, dog food. It was an incredible experience hitting the streets at night looking for people sleeping out ourselves. I think we could all say that it really changed our perspective chatting to people.

Something pretty magical started to happen too, lots of other people asked to help with the next #kindaware. And Calling London, who do a coat collection each winter, offered there support and donated 30 incredible second hand coats. It’s amazing what you can achieve together.

Our next adventure, to spread a bit of kindness, is to try to set up showers for homeless people. Beto’s already got a gym on board who will let us use their showers for a small amount. This will include a shower and clean towel to use. He’s set up our campaign on #hashtagcharity a collective of people helping turn things into reality for social good projects. We’re hoping they can help us build a basic website, so there’s a map of companies who are kindly supporting us plotted and people can see where they can get showers.

So the ask is….do you work in a company who might let us use their showers? Or could you ask your local gym? We’d like to try to spread this across London so there’s even access and a basic need is met for people who might be living on the streets. Thank you!

Please either leave a comment to this post or email emilydeg@gmail.com and beto@sillyideas.co.uk

The key to happiness

Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor unveils the key to being and staying happy, we can re-programme our brains, trust him he’s a psychologist!

I know the third and fifth are pretty crucial for my happiness and I’d like to work on practising gratitude and meditation. Which have helped you?

1. 3 gratitudes
2. Journaling
3. Exercise
4. Meditation
5. Random acts of kindness

Reciprocal Altruism – the importance of empathy

Dev Patnaik with Peter Mortensen explored how organisations of all kinds prosper when they tap into a power each of us has: empathy, the ability to connect with other people. Their book’s called ‘Wired to Care’ and it’s something I often come back to as a reference source.

They cite an example from 1893 when more than 200 leaders from over 40 countries came together for a Parliament of World Religions. The goal was to see if they shared any common ground. Imagine that happening today and how long it would take! Anyway, the leaders all had different religious beliefs but did find one thing they all shared as a unifying belief, The Golden Rule. Their declaration was ‘The Ethic of Reciprocity’, a belief that human’s have the capacity to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, which is the root of moral behaviour.

Wired to Care goes on to explore great examples of brands that work to The Golden Rule, something which is a natural human behaviour and inherent in the human brain.

They highlight that when we become disconnected from other people, we can’t behave in a consistently moral way as we ‘simply have nothing to calibrate our behaviour by.’ A challenge they set in the Golden Rule is to ‘treat people even better than they might expect to be treated.’

This year we’re looking forward to celebrating people who are #kindaware, brands and testing ourselves with how we treat people through different Kindaware campaigns.

Crowdfunding for care ruck sacks for people on the streets this Christmas

I saw a great idea a few months ago to create care ruck sacks for people living on the streets, filled with lots of essentials. So during these cold months it will be things like scarves, gloves, hats, socks and items we probably all take for granted like toothbrushes, toothpaste, face wipes, notebooks and pens. And a Christmas card, with some vouchers in for food restaurants.

I did a leadership programme called On Purpose last year and my second placement during it was at JustGiving, to help launch their crowdfunding site called Yimby.

So I’ve combined the two things and am crowdfunding to raise money to create some bags. Our original target was £200 to create 6-7, at an estimated £30 each. We hit our target on day 1 and still had 29 days to go, so have increased it to £400 (which you can view here.)

One of the best things about it, has been people offering old ruck sacks to us. So we’re now suggesting to people that they don’t have to donate money, items for the bags would be great too.

We’re going to go out and give the bags ourselves and shall also donate some to a few homeless charities – but we wanted to actually give them ourselves.

I’d love people to do a similar project across different parts of the UK, to help even more people. So if you’d like to do one feel free to get in touch emilydeg@gmail.com we’d love to hear from you.

Robin Williams – Mork’s lesson

Mork And Mindy
“Mork & Mindy: In Mork We Trust (#1.21)” (1979)

Orson: The report, Mork.

Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.

Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?

Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.

Orson: Does bed rest help?

Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.

Orson: Do you have any idea why?

Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?

Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?

Mork: No sir I’m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.

Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.

Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one.

Triodos Bank on growth – forget the numbers

Triodos have nailed the tone of this film, their mission is to make money work for positive social, environmental and cultural change and this couldn’t come across more. It’s not just about investing in the development of more products, more buildings, more companies for shareholder value but investing in smarter solutions that help create efficiency or social impact.

They call their approach old fashioned in their mission, it seems a pretty innovative financial approach to me.

#Kindaware