While we celebrate the role models who inspire thousands, it is myriad everyday moments that can make or break our day. Happiness is not a scarce resource. The more you give or share happiness, the more you get it back. As quoted by Oscar Wilde, " The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” You don’t have to think of great ideas to become a kinder person. Every small act counts. If we can perform at least one of these kind acts each and every day, we will slowly, but surely, leave an indelible legacy of kindness in this world:
Here are 8 kind and easy things you can do to cultivate compassion and improve the lives of those around you.
- Actions for the right reasons
Hiring domestic help in Pakistan is not only a norm but also is considered a status symbol. However, what is not the norm is considering domestic helpers as equal citizens or treating them with respect. Certain boundaries have been established in the name of wealth, race, colour and many other factors that lead to discrimination against them. In the recent years, incidents have happened where high-end restaurants, parks and other places have declared, “Maids and ayaas not allowed beyond this point” and it is high time that this colonial and elitist mindset is removed.
There are innumerous cases that have caused social media outrage where a maid was forced to sit in the trunk of the car without a moment’s hesitation or where child labour is not only exploited but also seen receiving belittling treatment, being abused mentally emotionally, physically and also more often than not, killed. But now, you can make a difference. Be kind to them. Treat them with love, patience and equality. A small gesture can make their day. Give them respect because they bring ease in our lives while leaving behind their own households. And, because they are humans who deserve to be treated well.
- Bea part of the solution, not pollution
Recent rains did not only expose the creaky infrastructure and a mismanaged drainage system but also brought about a swamp of flies and a discovery of shortcomings of our local municipal system. “Needles, blood vials wash up on Karachi beach after garbage-flooded streets” and “beach is bio-hazardous and in a state of emergency” were popular among other news headlines when the garbage crisis was being discussed in Karachi. People in Karachi are numb to the idea of living with medical waste, overflowing gutters, broken down roads, and a complete lack of any kind of respectable public transport system.
Pakistan needs our care, and one simple but extremely effective way to make a change is to pledge not to throw garbage out of your vehicle, and to tell others to take the same pledge. Make a promise to yourself to not only being a better human being but putting in an actual effort to make a difference, wherever and however possible. Throwing garbage out a car window doesn't just make for an ugly landscape and environment. It can also pose hazards to animals, including wildlife that gets tangled in loose rope or plastic. Kindness is truly contagious, so lead by example and others will follow
- All lives matter
Humans can go to sadistic lengths in order to affirm their superiority, and on most occasions, stray animals are at the receiving end of this abnormal cruelty. If you can’t provide shelter to animals, the least you can do is to keep freshwater in a shady area around your house for them to rest in. By adding bird feeders and birdbaths to your yard, you can offer food and drink to those flying around. Besides that, stray animals, such as dogs experience difficulties when it comes to finding food. Instead of throwing your leftovers into the bin, ensure you feed them with food.
Last, but not the least if you come across an injured animal on the streets, call the animal help services such as ACF Animal Rescue and Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) immediately. Giving a little love or small acts of kindness hurts nobody and this something not everyone understands. Animals are known to recognise love in any form. And so the good you do to a stray animal will never go waste.
- Don’t bargain, be a helping hand instead
Have you ever thought how much of a difference an extra 10 rupees can make in your life in comparison to how much it can mean to a vegetable vendor or a rickshaw driver? Small vendors on roadside work hard under the scorching heat, waiting for us to give them a day’s meal or some extra money that'll help them afford basic necessities. However, at the end of the day, what they earn is not even enough to feed themselves and their families. We're all aware of their way of life, but still, bargain with them until they have nothing to earn from their sales.
We pay thousands at a mall without questioning or even thinking about bargaining because of social pressures, but what we fail to understand is that while spending blindly at malls may make us seem richer, helping small vendors will definitely make us a bigger person. Please refrain from bargaining with street vendors; not only from a humanitarian point of view but also from a livelihood point of view. We feel very proud after purchasing a thing that costs more than thrice of what we actually paid for it, but we fail to understand what the seller has lost. Bargaining well is about respectfully reaching an agreement on a fair price that both the buyer and seller are happy with.
Kudos to Vital Tea for highlighting this extremely sensitive, yet essential part of our society without blaming or offending anyone through their campaign, "Barabri ka ehsas jagao." The concept of this initiative was to raise awareness in regards to the discrimination poor vendors face in our brutal society. Vital Tea's latest campaign not only highlights the real struggles of street vendors but also hits the right emotional chords. It makes us realise that it's our responsibility to be more humane towards less fortunate people. Their blend sure is strong enough to stir a change in not only ourselves but also makes us want to change this world.
- Give blood, give life
As you plan small acts of kindness or ways to volunteer, don’t forget the impact of blood donation because something so simple can make an immense difference in a country like Pakistan. It is unfortunate that in our country, donation rates are less than 1% and unavailability of blood often leads to the innumerable number of deaths. The transfusion of blood and blood products can help save millions of lives every year. Moreover, it can help improve life expectancy and the quality of lives of patients suffering from life-threatening conditions.
What can be a better act of kindness than being there for someone who requires your help. So, if you’re healthy, are between the age of 17 and 65 years and weigh over 50kg please donate blood. Don't be hesitant. There is no substitute for human blood as it cannot be manufactured and your one act of kindness can help save the lives of up to three people.
- Cut the greed, not the green
Pakistan is one of the seven countries affected most by global warming and climate change. And this is inevitable with the temperature of Karachi that keeps changing one degree a year! Every year Pakistan experiences appalling death wave which results in deaths of thousands of people. Climate change is humankind's greatest threat and is likely to have profound consequences for socio-economic sectors such as health, food production, energy consumption and security and natural resource management. The detrimental impacts of this ongoing threat are presently being displayed around the world in the form of natural disasters.
The solution lies in our hands but are we willing to make an effort? From this moment onwards, we should take the pledge of tackling climate change by planting more trees. A city like Karachi is in dire need of plantation and it’s our job to make that happen. It is an act of kindness not only for the environment but also for future generations. Even one small sapling can go a long way in improving the air quality and preserving the environment. Let’s show some concern and care for mother earth by spreading awareness and encouraging others to give back to the environment in which we all rely on for our survival. Plant trees and save your planet.
- Be thoughtful, spread the joy of sharing
In Pakistan witnessing discarded food on plates at weddings and restaurants is a common sight. It’s time we step up and realise that the food we are wasting can be used to feed the underprivileged. In order to avoid tons of food being wasted, please pack the food in a box and give it to the children living on the streets. If you happen to be part of a social gathering you can simply reach out to the local NGOs/organisations who can pick up the food and deliver it to these poor kids. The idea is to prevent the wastage of food and to help the needy by sharing fresh meals or leftovers by going beyond the embarrassment of asking for the leftovers to be packed.
You can also help by donating other everyday items that can bring a change in someone’s life. Instead of discarding old items such as toys, you can pass them down to the street kids who may never get a chance to play with toys. Get together with your friends, co-workers, relatives and collect all essentials that are of no use to you and distribute it amongst the street kids. Make a kit of all season-specific items, and distribute it among the less privileged. For example, in summers, you can make a hamper consisting of glucose biscuits, energy drinks, and water bottles to keep children from getting dehydrated. Likewise, make a kit for the winters. If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.
- Put the “kind” back in “mankind”
In a bustling city of Karachi, a traffic delay is one of the minute problems that Karachites face on a daily basis. Traffic can be the most stressful situation of all. Especially commutes to and from work. Moreover, ill parking ways, stalls on the roads, pedestrians walking and beggars add much to the misery of the drivers. Driving can be pretty fun if you're in the right state of mind. So, one of the best ways to enjoy your drive is to be polite to others on the road who may be stressed out, lost or late for an appointment.
Be a day maker by allowing someone to merge in front of you or turn into your lane. It's a simple act that goes a long way. Use your turn signal and don't get frustrated when others don't. Please let pedestrians cross the road and follow the speed limit signs. Honestly, when you are friendly and polite to others while driving, it makes it so much more pleasant for everyone to be on the road.
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