07/25/2009 06:43 PM | By Alia Al Theeb, Deputy UAE Editor
Dubai: As American social writer and philosopher Eric Hoffer once said: "Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind". Spreading the culture of kindness is one of the many aims of the Kindness Movement, a non-governmental organisation which aims to encourage people to be kind to themselves before being kind to others.
The Kindness Movement in the UAE started with a group of volunteers. At that time it was limited to Dubai and provided healthcare services for the needy.
"As a non-profit organisation here requires a lot of professionalism and expertise, we decided to [implement] a proper structure for the organisation," Nawar Al Dass, Chief Executive Officer of the Kindness Movement, told Gulf News.
He explained that the organisation has helped charities such as the Red Crescent and has undertaken many projects such as providing aid to Tsunami victims at the end of 2004.
"The idea ... [behind] ... the Kindness Movement is that we realised that many people are looking for someone to help and support them, even some government departments," Al Dass said.
He said the group decided to focus on three issues.
"Our first aim is spreading the culture of kindness among the community, creating a kind world starting from schools and promoting the kindness culture which does not require a lot of outside influence, but starts within and then the people around," Al Dass explained.
To support this aim, the Kindness Movement has published a book which consists of ten real stories from across the world dealing with generosity, love and kindness and is written by students.
The movement's second aim is consumer protection which they undertake by spreading awareness on consumer rights.
"We had done an unofficial survey, which showed that many people do not know their consumer rights and do not even know there is a consumer protection law. So we published leaflets highlighting the consumer protection laws in coordination with the Economic Department here," Al Dass said.
He said the aim is not just to distribute the leaflets, but also to encourage recipients to share them with other people.
The third aim of the movement is to promote Dubai as a city of accessibility for people with special needs.
"We are still working on this project which is based on providing people with disabilities the ability to move freely in Dubai and live a normal life. We are coordinating with the Ministry of Social Affairs in this project and will reveal the details soon," Al Dass said.
The movement has recently launched the ICE initiative which is based on storing the word ICE, which stands for "In Case of Emergency", before the name of the person who would have adequate information about the patient to provide it to paramedics or healthcare officials in case of emergencies.
The movement is coordinating with Dubai Centre for Ambulance Services, Dubai Civil Defence and police across the UAE.
Support: How can you help?
Nawar Al Dass, Chief Executive Officer of the Kindness Movement, said people who wish to support the Kindness Movement can do so by volunteering on the website www.kindness.ae, send their comments and ideas to support the movement and help in distributing awareness leaflets.
The Kindness Movement can also be reached at 04 2652202.
Al Dass stressed the importance of corporations and the role they can play in supporting community-related projects. "We need support from corporations to help us get our message across to a larger segment," he said.
Have you observed a drop in courtesy around you? Do you try helping others if they are in need? Why do you think people prefer to stay detached from other's needs?