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    A movement in the city sends anonymous letters and gives free hugsThe Goodwill Tribe (4)

    How would you feel if you were to receive an anonymous, hand written letter that refers to a barely-known achievement or a consolatory note about a hardship? Before the cynic in you goes into stalker alert mode — put on a smile, as this is a novel initiative to spread cheer and warmth in society by Dubai-based The Goodwill Tribe. The three-year-old non-profit group (its Chennai chapter is a year old), with around 10 members and 40 volunteers across the globe, sends letters like these on-request, on behalf of people who wish to reach out to a friend or a family member. Mohammed Usama, co-founder of the Chennai chapter says, “This exercise is called Letter Earthlings, where each volunteer of ours will write one letter for one person.”

    Setting forth
    Established in Bengaluru, Singapore, London, Sydney, Colombo and other cities, this concept is the brainchild of two Bengaluru girls, Sonia Parekh and Chandni Sawlani, who are now settled in Dubai. “Our ideas are inspired by existing kindness organisations like Life Vest Inside (USA) and Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (Denver).”
    The Chennai chapter’s next event is called the ‘Kindness Table’. Hoping to use a mall or a beach as the venue, they plan to give away Jar of Hearts — containers of colourful paper stars with inspirational one-word messages. “We will also invite around 100 people to note down ideas about how to make anyone happy. At the end, we will be richer by 100 different ways which we can use to spread happiness,” Usama enthuses.
    There will also be activities like free books, photo sessions and hugs for  strangers. The group also conducts events like ‘Kindness Drive’ where they collect partially new clothes and books to donate to the homeless.

    Kindness Table event on March 20. Place letter requests on their Facebook page. Details: facebook.com/gwtchennai

    —Karan Pillai

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