There’s never been a time in history where human beings have been as digitally connected as we are today; paradoxically we’ve never been as disconnected, from our souls and our tribes, from our passion and compassion. We walk past one other without any acknowledgement and smiling at a stranger is so rare; when we meet, we say ‘how are you?’, but don’t really stop to listen; we don’t know our neighbours, have no sense of community and feel like we’re in a constant race against time. This disconnection is what inspired The Goodwill Tribe. We’re on a mission to inspire human connection and compassion.
Close to four years ago, two of us friends got together and just shared dreams of a way to shake it all up, to connect us all to each other and bring more compassion into the world. Our mission was aligned and we decided to take the first step! We got a few friends together and collected things from our homes that could be gifted to people, and wrapped everything with a lot of love. We gifted everything away at a local flea market. The reactions were magical. The smiles, spontaneous hugs, conversations and laughter opened up a part of our hearts and left us with this inexplicable feeling of fullness. It felt as though everyone had been seeking deeper connections and a space to be kind. We knew then that we had to keep this going.
And so we experimented with lots of different ideas. At ‘Kindness Confetti’ events we’d get together to surprise strangers with random acts of kindness. At ‘Letter Earthlings’ events we’d get together to write letters of love, support and encouragement to strangers going through a tough time. We receive letter requests for people all over the world, write to them at our community events and then have the letters delivered anonymously to the recipient by snail mail. At ‘One Kind’ events, we come together in a circle of sharing to dig deeper within ourselves and connect through stories and conversations.
About two years ago, our friends in Bangalore and Chennai, India reached out to say they wanted to do the same in their cities. We were thrilled! We’d never have imagined this then, but we’ve now got local chapters in 11 cities (London, Sydney, Kuwait City, Dubai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Goa, Kochi, Trivandrum) around the world, with pilot runs in 3 other cities (Jaipur, Rajkot, Fujairah) . All of it organic, all of it volunteer driven, all of it without funding and each city with its own powerful story to share!
In the first ever event in Mumbai, India, so many people turned up to write letters that they had to stand outside the café, lean on cars, and write words of love to a stranger. Our two wonderful tribe members in Kuwait City, hosted an event called Silent Sound where they brought people together to connect through the beauty of music. They had 30 people show up to experience the magic! In London, the tribe hosts all their events in a space called ‘The Museum of Happiness’, yes it exists! In Pune, India, the tribe created a special event where they wrote letters to soldiers serving the nation and shipped off a bag of about 60 anonymous letters of appreciation. In Bangalore, three generations of women came together to knit beautiful woollen caps for a kindness donation drive. And the stories and ripples continue.
We’ve been super inspired by the journey so far and now really want to step it up! We want to inspire compassion in all settings. And here’s the plan:
- Local kindness chapters everywhere
Volunteer run groups all over the world, that host free events to inspire compassion and human connection in their communities. Imagine every city has a tribe of people dedicated to spreading smiles and inspiring kindness. Imagine what that could ripple into, for all the people involved, for the cities and for the world at large!
- Radical social experiments and events
Eye opening experiments in human connection that help us break past stereotypes, stigma and conditioning; experiences that facilitate unlearning. We hope to make people pause, connect and perhaps discover a new (natural) way of being with each other. Some examples include:A project that curates the stories of every-day people in an effort to have them feel seen, worthy and beautiful. These stories will be a medium to bring down barriers, challenge stereotypes, help us see past all of our differences and instead focus on what makes us all the same.A specially curated trip that brings strangers together in an experience designed for kindness, compassion and cultivating connection.
- Experience designers
We believe that compassion can be brought into all settings. It’s not about what you do, it’s about how you do it. We will design experiences for brands, businesses and spaces that want to include values of human connection and compassion in the DNA of their offerings.For a café, this could mean designing the look and feel of the place, the experiences you have while at the café, prompts for you to connect more deeply with yourself, creative ways to connect with strangers at the café etc.
- Workshops and Activities
We’re designing workshops around the themes of human connection, empathy, compassion and collaboration for schools, colleges and corporate workplaces.In schools, the activity based workshops are for children to discover and explore these values together. We hope to create a culture of kindness and empathy that children grow up with.In the competitive environment that is college life, our workshops are designed to spark moments of human connection, build community and inspire a culture of collaboration and co-creation.In workplaces, the workshops will empower employees with practices that they can follow, to co-create happier and more compassionate workplaces.
The Goodwill Tribe is going to be registered as a Not for Profit Company. We believe in a more compassionate world and are ready to do the work, one smile at a time. We’re calling on YOU to make this happen! We’ve launched a crowd funding campaign to get us off the ground and support the work for our first year. Check it out!
Contribute now and help us create a #billionsmilecompany