FPJ Interview: THIS campaign is aimed to create 'kindemic', says Rotarian Naresh Karmalker

The Free Press Journal took to strike a conversation with President-Elect Rotary Club of Mumbai Bravehearts Naresh Karmalker on 'Year of Kindness' campaign and KINDER app.

Swarna SrikanthUpdated: Sunday, April 10, 2022, 04:05 PM IST
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Acts of kindness have now got a platform to be shared, expressed and acknowledged. The KINDER app was launched by the Rotary Club of Mumbai Bravehearts as a part of their 'Year of Kindness' campaign.

The 'Year of Kindness' campaign was ideated Naresh Karmalker, the President-Elect at Rotary Club of Mumbai Bravehearts and supported by Rotarian Renu Sakhrani, President 2021-22 Rotary club of Mumbai Bravehearts.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several people tried to be a hope across pain and life loss. Some donated financially while others attempted to hear out the people in despair, adding a gentle smile on their face.

That being the case, we might have come across several incidents of persons trying to be kind and supportive to the needy. Rotary Club of Mumbai Bravehearts created a space to honour, celebrate and encourage this spirit of generosity and kindness, creating a ‘kindemic’ across the world.

The Free Press Journal took to strike a conversation with President-Elect Rotary Club of Mumbai Bravehearts Naresh Karmalker. Here are a few excerpts from the talk:

There goes a saying, 'World is a cruel place' - what's your take on this?

I think that’s a very pessimistic view of the world. The world occurs as both – good and bad, not necessarily in equal measure. I believe that a human being will definitely experience both in one’s lifetime.

You cannot appreciate the good if you haven’t witnessed the bad. Ultimately, it is how you choose to look at the world or your life that will determine how it will turn out. In fact, if we can train ourselves to look for the good in every ‘bad’ experience, there is a possibility of building on that and transforming the situation for the better.

Do you think that 'Appreciation is rare'?

To a certain extent, yes. Not entirely blaming over the rat race we seem to be running these days, somehow, we have all been conditioned since childhood to find faults rather than good qualities.

For instance, if we give ourselves just a minute to list out our qualities of praise, we might ponder and struggle to get a few on paper. However, if the exercise asked one to note what is ‘wrong’ or ‘flawed’ about ourselves or others, we are more likely to run long on paper!

Appreciation needs to start with oneself. The more we start appreciating ourselves, the more space we create for appreciating others, leading to transform society as a whole in a positive way.

What is the story behind the 'Year of Kindness Campaign'?

'The Year of Kindness' was launched on the second anniversary of the pandemic on March 27, 2022. The two years of COVID-19 witnessed stories of disaster and despair along inspiring stories of incredible courage, compassion and empathy from people of various backgrounds and strata. It was with a view to honour, celebrate and encourage this spirit of generosity and kindness, that our team aimed at a ‘kindemic’ across the world as a part of this campaign.

The pandemic was a great leveler in that, I think, everybody began to realise and appreciate our interdependence on each other. It was with this thought that we hoped to inculcate the habit of kindness in everybody. From there was born the campaign, aiming to acknowledge empathy, kindness, solidarity during a time of crisis or need.

What does the KINDER app facilitate? How does it benefit the society?

The ‘KINDER’ app was launched along with the ‘Year of Kindness’ campaign, and happens to be a handy tool that anybody can use to register their acts of kindness.

Left to right:
Rtn Khuzem Sakarwala - Founder RC Mumbai Bravehearts, Fr. Joby Matthew - Publisher The Teenager Today, PDG Rtn Bansi Dhurandhar, Nirmala Peters Mehendale - Global Prez - World of Kindness Movement, Rtn Naresh Karmalker - Prez Elect RC Mumbai Bravehearts, Fr. Vincent Carmel - Editor, The Teenager Today, Rtn Nazneen Sakarwala - Founder/ President 2020-21 RC Mumbai Bravehearts.

KINDER gives people a platform to not only feed in details about acts of kindness that one has done to others but also record acts of kindness done to ourselves. Every act of kindness, being no big or small, is welcome to be recorded in the app.

It's simple to use, one can log in to the app as an individual user or on behalf of an organization. The app also has a ‘pay it forward’ feature. If a user enters the details of the person of doing or receiving kindness, the app will send a message to that person welcoming them to download the app and become a part of the initiative, facilitating prosper the chain of kindness.

We proudly hope that the app will benefit the society in a few ways –

  • As a ‘diary of good deeds’ which would help in habit formation

  • Encourage people to show gratitude to those who have been kind towards them in walks of life

  • A database of inspiring stories that we can share around the world and encourage more and more people to join the movement in making the world a kinder place

Could you share some stories, listed on the app via users, that left you inspired?

The app is in its nascent stage, and is slowly growing with stories of kindness being shared by a few enthusiasts.

Pune, Maharashtra: KINDER had listed a story of a female from Pune having got into her much longed meditation practice, an act of kindness towards self which made her happy and feel good.

While, another was that of feeding more than 200 needy people as a part of Rotary’s Annapurna project in the same city.

The list can go on and on... with a person providing a writer for a visually-impaired person to assist in the examination, donating plants to a neighbour, getting an unexpected ride home from a function or workplace, receiving a smile from a stranger in the street...

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