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St. John’s man promoting kindness

['Hasan Hai says small good deeds can make a difference in the lives of strangers in ways others may never know. He has established a group, Project Kindness NL, to help build a stronger community with kindness.']
['Hasan Hai says small good deeds can make a difference in the lives of strangers in ways others may never know. He has established a group, Project Kindness NL, to help build a stronger community with kindness.']

Hasan Hai of St. John’s is surprised by the reaction he gets from people when he offers to help them and he asks for nothing in return.

“It is surprising and a little bit sad sometimes that that’s the world we live in,” he told The Southern Gazette in a telephone interview on Nov. 3.

“Because if you think in terms of, if we reduce it to very simple living, if you’re living in rural Newfoundland, you’re living in an outport community where everyone knows everyone,” he said. “If you walk over to your neighbours house and bring them some supper they’re not shocked by that because they expect that sort of hospitality and charity from their neighbours or from their families.”

Hai feels that as everyday life has become busier and the world has gotten bigger, people do not connect with others in the same way.   

“We’re not used to just walking down the street and someone actually speaking to us kindly or coming over and raking our leaves or shoveling our driveway,” he said. “It’s newsworthy when someone does that without any request for reward or recognition, (and) it really shouldn’t be. It should be just what we do as decent human beings, is whenever we can, we give.”

Hai recalled a time from his youth when a neighbour had gone out after a storm with their snow blower and removed the snow left behind by the snowplow from driveways.

“We all remember those moments because what a nice thing to do, and it just shows how kind people are,” he said.

Hai, founder and chief kindness officer with Project Kindess NL, said he would like to see a world where people are no longer surprised when others offer to help.

“I am hoping to change that and make it more the norm than the exception,” he said.

Hai said his inspiration for the project came in response to an ad he placed in a local publication inviting others who had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving to join him and his three children for a meal.

“A couple people joined us, but the biggest thing was a lot of people commented saying, ‘What a great idea — wish I could do something like that, and I realized that there’s a lot capacity to give and of caring within people everywhere.”

He added that some people just don’t know where to start or what they should do.

“I am just trying to provide some examples,” he said. “If someone’s doing something on their own, then great, I want to encourage and even help people doing what their already doing.”

He also added that there are many things people can do that can have a positive effect of the lives of others.

“It is surprising and a little bit sad sometimes that that’s the world we live in,” he told The Southern Gazette in a telephone interview on Nov. 3.

“Because if you think in terms of, if we reduce it to very simple living, if you’re living in rural Newfoundland, you’re living in an outport community where everyone knows everyone,” he said. “If you walk over to your neighbours house and bring them some supper they’re not shocked by that because they expect that sort of hospitality and charity from their neighbours or from their families.”

Hai feels that as everyday life has become busier and the world has gotten bigger, people do not connect with others in the same way.   

“We’re not used to just walking down the street and someone actually speaking to us kindly or coming over and raking our leaves or shoveling our driveway,” he said. “It’s newsworthy when someone does that without any request for reward or recognition, (and) it really shouldn’t be. It should be just what we do as decent human beings, is whenever we can, we give.”

Hai recalled a time from his youth when a neighbour had gone out after a storm with their snow blower and removed the snow left behind by the snowplow from driveways.

“We all remember those moments because what a nice thing to do, and it just shows how kind people are,” he said.

Hai, founder and chief kindness officer with Project Kindess NL, said he would like to see a world where people are no longer surprised when others offer to help.

“I am hoping to change that and make it more the norm than the exception,” he said.

Hai said his inspiration for the project came in response to an ad he placed in a local publication inviting others who had nowhere to go for Thanksgiving to join him and his three children for a meal.

“A couple people joined us, but the biggest thing was a lot of people commented saying, ‘What a great idea — wish I could do something like that, and I realized that there’s a lot capacity to give and of caring within people everywhere.”

He added that some people just don’t know where to start or what they should do.

“I am just trying to provide some examples,” he said. “If someone’s doing something on their own, then great, I want to encourage and even help people doing what their already doing.”

He also added that there are many things people can do that can have a positive effect of the lives of others.

Donations collected on the Burin Peninsula

“When I say giving, I also mean just kindness to others,” Hai said. “Like if you’re going through a Tim Hortons or at a Wal-Mart or talking to people, be kind to them, connect with the person. If you’re walking downtown and there’s someone who may be a pan handling, or is standing there, you know, don’t ignore them — see them as people talk to them.

“I’ve often not had the money to give to someone but I’ve stopped for a couple of minutes and chatted with them and you know both of our days are a little bit better from having a friendly chat. There’s no harm in that.”

Hai likes to give freely of his time often posting on buy and sell sites that he and his kids are available to help others with household chores, moving, or “if you want some company for a couple hours and sit down with some tea, we’re your people.”

He hopes these actions will also encourage others.

Project Kindness NL also has a number of projects underway. Recently they collected donations to put together winter care packages to be distributed to Stella's Circle and Choices for Youth.

Hai’s vision is to see the project spread through the province. On the Burin Peninsula, Stacey Labour Grandy has helped collect items to be donated.

Grandy had previously met Hai, and when she saw him post about the group on Facebook, she decided to offer to help.

“I figured it would set a good example for my son,” she explained. “It is important to raise him as a kind and thoughtful person, and this was one way to show him.”

Grandy is happy to see so many people helping with the cause.

“Some total strangers have messaged me and I'm proud to say that we should have between 35-40 packages from the Burin Peninsula.”

If you would like to know more look to Facebook at Project Kindness-NL.

colin.farrell@tc.tc

@Colin_TCMedia

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