Mental health awareness week 2019: The prevalence in refugees and asylum seekers
Kindness is not a superhuman quality but…
Kindness is not a superhuman quality but the essential drive of human societies. An act of kindness; giving just a little time, a brief smile, a few words or even more, does not have to be seen as a blissful act of graciousness. We do not need to be good to each other and spare what we can spare because that is the moral imperative. Nowadays all services and almost all human interactions are based on the exchange of money and that makes us lose touch with the important rituals of reciprocity outside of the monetary realm. Human communities thrive on giving, kindness creates and preserves bonds, benefits cooperation and thus the development of our societies. With today being National Random Acts of Kindness Day, we thought we would take a look at the work we do here at ACAA and how random acts of kindness help the wider community.
The Afghan and Central Asian Association resides in a humble office on the busy Staines road of Hounslow. If you glance behind the glass window you can see a crowd of people sitting around a big table passionately tapping away on their computers, listening to and advising our beneficiaries. But it is no ordinary office. None of those people you will see is working for a paycheck at the end of the month. They work for the progression of the local community, write, teach, listen, talk, comfort and encourage for free, 6 days a week and 8 hours a day. Why? Because when you give, the world becomes a better place.
The voluntary work of the ACAA aims to make Hounslow a place where life will be better in the coming years, to the benefit of all. A Hounslow where there will be more progress, more social integration and happier faces. We hope to represent community spirit in its best and encourage those around us to participate.
Kindness is often not requested, so it is important to keep an eye out for those most vulnerable, especially those who are often silent. Many families that the ACAA help are surprised to find out that they need assistance when they hear from us. Without help from the wider Hounslow community in spreading the word, we would not be able to reach everyone who is in need and be able to carry out those invaluable acts of kindness.
A good example of the importance of community to the ACAA occurred earlier this year. On the 9thof January, an elderly Afghani lady was found by the police wondering on the Hounslow High Street in the freezing weather. She had no identification on her, she was confused and frightened. The police had no way of identifying her and her address and the lady was unable to remember how long she had been outside and where she was from. The officers sat her in the warm car and drove around in a vain attempt to try to find the lady’s home or neighbourhood. Finally, they decided to bring her to ACAA. The anguished elderly lady was made comfortable and over a cup of hot tea, our volunteers addressed her in her mother-tongue. Sadly, she was still not able to share the required information.
After some rest and another drive around the neighbourhood, the ACAA harnessed the power of the community by posting her picture on our social media channels. In a few hours, it was shared numerous times and the lady’s family was successfully reached, and she was reunited with them soon after.
On National Random Acts of Kindness day, this story really does showcase the importance of kindness. With just a glance of an attentive pair of eyes recognising someone lost and confused, just a few miles of driving, a few words typed, and a post shared a successful outcome was reached. It just goes to show that kindness does not need to be tiring, time-consuming and self-sacrificing. Being kind is not being a hero. It is just being human.