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Written by Lili

For the first time this year there was a Kindness Festival organised at LUU for the occasions of World Kindness Day (13.11) and World Tolerance Day (16.11). Kindness is key contributor to happiness, it uplifts the mood both of the giver and the receiver and facilitates gratitude. And it seems like random acts of kindness are needed not only so that we can learn to give, but also to learn to receive with gratitude!

To share kindness and tolerance, and celebrate diversity the events began on Monday 13th November with sharing Kindness challenges on campus and giving out chocolates! As part of this, I got to see so many strangers’ beautiful smiles and it really uplifted my mood. There was also a Good-will Wall put in the Chaplaincy and canvas of good-will at Global CafĂ© for people to share kind words of wishes, gratitude and love! During the week there was also an Origami workshop as creative craft based activities can improve wellbeing and help dealing with stress, especially whilst enjoying some refreshments like tea and cookies.

As part of the festival and in the occasion of Islamophobia Awareness Month an exhibition by MEND (Muslim engagement development) tackling Islamophobia was present in the Union to raise awareness of irrational biases and to show positive examples of Muslims.

Finally, there was an amazing SPEAK UP event with the author Gulwali Passarlay on the 16th of November from 6.30pm at Function, LUU. Gulwali Passarlay is an Afghan political refugee currently residing in the UK. He has told his story of life as a refugee in his autobiography: “The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee’s Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half The World”.  Over 40 people attended and got to meet Gulwali and hear him share his story. The event was extremely intriguing as in addition a panel of students talked about their experience on the issues of refugees. It was truly moving and inspiring event. It triggered motivation to be better and do better. As Gulwali said while living his positive message on the good-will canvas: kindness can save lives -  so act up, do something! Give and share your kindness with the world around you.

P.S. I am so happy I was able to get the book and get it personally signed by him!