For World Kindness Day, A Reminder Of How Kindness Can Save Lives

The Kindness Of Strangers Saved This Mango Thief’s Life

Enlarge this picture toggle caption Courtesy of Shining Hope For Communities Courtesy of Shining Hope For Communities

Editor’s Note: This history was originally published in 2015 and offers been updated.

With a string of devastating natural disasters and track record numbers of refugees, 2017 is a cruel year.

So it’s a year when, as part of your, we need World Kindness Day.

The November 13 vacation was built up in 1998. So that it doesn’t have deep roots in individual society.

But really, it isn’t a bad thought to celebrate kind terms and deeds – and understand that kind deeds can have an amazing impact.

That’s what I discovered in 2015, when I interviewed Kennedy Odede. As a kid he lived on the streets of a Kenyan slum, and the kindness of strangers saved his life.

And he has forged a life predicated on kindness by beginning Shining Hope for Communities, which provides free major education for girls and social products and services to urban slums in his home region. Awards and honors have come his approach, and he’s the author of the brand new York Times bestseller Discover Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Expectation in an African Slum.

This interview has been edited with a sort eye for clarity and length.

Did you know that World Kindness Day is November 13?

Wow. No. could it be something new?

According to the Net, some nonprofit teams started the holiday to market kindness. And I’m informed you know a whole lot about kindness from your own life, when you spent 3 years on the streets of the Kenyan slum of Kibera.

Yeah, yeah, I was a road boy at age 10.

How did you can be considered a street boy?

My parents were inadequate and we’ve violence inside your home [from his stepfather]. It had been very troublesome growing up so I ran away.

What was it want living on the streets?

Being truly a street boy you feel unwanted. I survived ingesting garbage. And I found a couple of things: How people could be kind and oftentimes can be mean.

How were they kind?

Some people would come and provide me food once in a while. But we under no circumstances trusted people because we under no circumstances know who’s gonna come to be kind, who’s not really gonna be kind.

What did it mean when people were kind to you?

What I’ve learned is this idea: How a simple kindness can save a life. I stole one mango – it was foodstuff for, like, two times. But I was beaten by several people. It had been a mob justice. And I imagined I was going to die. But one kind one who was walking by said, “Why are you beating this kid?” And they said, “He’s a thief.” The individual payed for the mango. Without that person, I’m sure I could have been dead.

Who was this kind person?

It had been a middle-aged guy. He saved me from the people who were defeating me. I’m sure the man has forgotten.

Evidently you haven’t. How offers that incident helped form your description of kindness.

Every time I really do something best for kids or for anybody, I think of this moment. Kindness is usually when you don’t expect this person you helped to provide back in in any manner. I assurance you the kindness you do has an impact on that person, and that person will continue spreading kindness.

How did you log off the streets?

My spouse and i was helped by another kind person, who was a Catholic priest. I really missed university, I was teaching myself how to read and write. And this preacher approved by and he revealed me some kind of kindness. He used to smile and that built me really happy.

How did you respond to him?

My spouse and i used to imitate his accent by positioning my nose and mention, just like a Western person, ‘How are you, how are you.”

And that means you held your nose to get that nasal Western tone?


And he was a white man?

Yes. And he helped me to go to a local school. Therefore in my life I have suffered a whole lot but as well have seen kindness.

Do you abide by his example of providing a smile to individuals you see?

If I go in an elevator, I’ll smile at people.

Do people sometimes appear at you as though you’re crazy?

Yes, sometimes that’s everything you get. Doing very good doesn’t mean you’re going to get good things. You’re going to get some negative things. If people are unkind it is because of their backdrop – they have already been beaten, people did evil what to them.

But along the way appearing kind is preferable to being unkind. This is a win-win scenario. Just be kind.

My spouse and i was curious how you got the name Kennedy. Were you called after John Kennedy?

My spouse and i was named after JFKennedy. I was created a breech baby. My legs came out primary. Because I survived, it means I was a head, so I had to get a leadership name.

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