By April Mae M. Berza
Being a part of the UNESCO campaign together with the RoundGlass Foundation called #KindnessMatters allows me to be kind and compassionate not only to others but also to myself, bringing out the best in me as well as inspiring others.
While I may not be an established children’s book writer, I’m quite ecstatic they trust me with this opportunity, it’s quite rare that a Filipino writer gets invited to craft engaging stories for young readers in India.
Frankly, I used to think that I am a frustrated children’s book writer. Well, that’s my past. My present is geared towards helping the children and youth in India thrive during the pandemic. With inspiring children’s stories, these can positively influence how they see the silver lining in every situation.
Writing for them is more like embracing the inner child in me, I become more humane and more giving. I became a child again as I reminisce about past memories.
I started this initiative to volunteer for the RoundGlass Foundation because I have a dream, a noble mission to empower others with the power of words. This is something I really wanted to do and I know I really have to.
When I was a child, I used to enjoy stories that enabled me to be optimistic no matter how I struggled way back then. Reading books made me who I am today. I am nothing without the books I have.
Books are magical portals to distant lands. We can travel to kingdoms if we have books.
Children should have favorite authors, they should be given access to libraries and bookstores.
In addition, I believe that children should be reading, writing, and playing. They should be enjoying their childhood.
#KindnessMatters is an excellent initiative that serves the people, especially children and youth. We need to rekindle hope in their eyes as they lead our future.
According to Know India: National Portal of India, “The literacy rate in the country is 74.04 per cent, 82.14 for males and 65.46 for females.”
This is a good sign that many are literate but how many are well-read? How many are in school today, not working or simply staying at home? How many are still reading books even after they graduate?
Statistics only show one side of it, where is the other?
This only proves that we can impact the lives of these kids in India significantly.
I live in the Philippines but I believe that my positive influence can reach more lives, we can integrate literacy to society, we can streamline this process by educating them and empowering each other.
In my dear country, child labor is one of the pressing issues of society. People promote toxic positivity and say a lot of stuff about child labor, even if it is clearly a violation of child rights.
How can they stomach feeling entitled that they are eating thrice a day while kids are starving and begging in the streets?
We should demand more transparency from the government as they delegate tasks to agencies that take care of children and youth.
This regime should solve these problems, not add up.
I realize that writing for children can help, but we must ask our leaders to step up.
Politicians must not only show up in every election, but in difficult times as well. They should lead us, and help every citizen, especially the children and youth.
A UNESCO report showed, “According to data from Census 2011, the number of child laborers in India is 10.1 million of which 5.6 million are boys and 4.5 million are girls.”
India is dear to my heart. I have never been to India but India embraces my poetry and fiction, it is almost like a second home.
When the global health crisis struck, RoundGlass Foundation put up an initiative to create Circle Time where they connect volunteers to Punjab kids. From the lens of kindness, stories about these help motivate both volunteers and children.
This project helps the mental well-being of Punjab kids, according to RoundGlass Foundation. Many kids become more positive and confident about themselves. Those who are shy become more friendly and talkative. Several even share their intimate thoughts and feelings.
With the help and support of volunteers around the world, children in India receive better living conditions, especially for their mental wellness.
Paying it forward is never an issue, I’m passionate about committing myself to this campaign. #KindnessMatters should be.