The power of kindness: Everyday actions to change the world

By Rodrigo Barraza García | April 15, 2022 | Africa & The Middle East, Asia, Europe & Eurasia, The Americas |

Editor’s note: This post is also available in Spanish.

GFC’s Regional Co-Director for the Americas, Rodrigo Barraza, reflects on how we can practice kindness and promote wellbeing, especially during challenging times.

We live in difficult times – there is no doubt about it. Just when we were beginning to return to normality after two years full of fear and uncertainty, old ghosts resurface and confront us.

War has set in again. Authoritarianism and polarization have fractured our communities. The inequalities deepened by the pandemic seem almost impossible to reverse.

However, there is still hope. In the face of pain, many bet on life, human interactions, and solidarity. Many of us refuse to accept the reality in front of us and are sure that a more just, inclusive, and dignified world is possible.

I am not just talking about ideals or good intentions. I am talking about concrete actions that are carried out every day to shift power and advance social change.

The philanthropic sector is a great example. Increasingly, international donors are committed to building relationships based on trust and transparency. At GFC, we are determined to continue influencing other foundations and organizations to adopt flexible and multi-year financing aimed at community wellbeing.

Rodrigo Barraza poses with children and organization staff on a visit to a partner

Rodrigo visiting OYE, a GFC partner organization in Honduras. © GFC

I see firsthand how more and more donors are willing to join this movement to transform power – first by recognizing the power imbalances in international cooperation, and then by committing to more balanced and horizontal practices in service of common objectives.

As donors begin to adjust their systems, funding programs, and accountability mechanisms, we realize that it is possible to operationalize deep human values, such as trust and justice. In other words, we can transform these values into daily and specific practices that become part of our organizational culture. And this is extremely powerful.

But is it enough?

Staying true to our principle of “radically dreaming” at GFC, I believe that it is possible to go one step further.

Now that words like “trust,” “transparency,” and “shared responsibility” are becoming part of the philanthropic dictionary, I propose including one more simple but powerful word: “kindness.”

How can we do this? By remembering that organizations are made up of human beings who deserve to be seen, heard, and recognized.

And by remembering that it’s the everyday actions that count. Those that often do not appear in operations manuals or theories of change.

Here’s how we do it:

Kindness requires practice and discipline. Constant work and introspection. It’s like playing an instrument. It is something you have to practice every day.

At GFC, we know that kindness is a value and, at the same time, a responsibility. We strive every day to make kindness a practice that runs through all of our work, even the smallest actions.

Let’s keep working on many levels. Let’s work to transform systems, ideas, and policies that promote fear and hopelessness. At the same time, let’s come closer to one another, supporting our peers, our collaborators, our neighbors.

Let’s strive to build community, one person at a time. Let’s help each other heal. Let’s hold and uplift each other in these dark times.

The world needs our kindness.

Header photo: A young girl smiling for the camera in Chiapas, Mexico. © GFC

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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