Windhoek, April 13 –Kindness is a gift anyone can give, and it may simply take a single act to change a life.
Nedbank Namibia staff across the country became true RAKtivists during the official Random Act of Kindness (RAK) week earlier this year. The official RAK day is marked in February and aims to “Explore the Good” and “Make kindness the norm.”
Joining in the movement, staff members undertook to perform their very own random acts of kindness within the community. “Kindness truly is a heart-warming and inspiring undertaking,” says Ian Platt, Nedbank’s Oshana Mall Branch Manager, whose team identified Hilia Hangobe, a student who needed assistance to pay her registration fees at the University of Namibia. This year especially, students at a number of tertiary institutions have experienced difficulty to pay registration fees on time, or at all, due to the economic climate caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has prevented some students from continuing their studies and some even from graduating. Eugene Cupido, Nedbank’s Northern Regional Manager, commended the Oshana Branch for their initiative, “Whenever someone is in need, there is an opportunity for kindness to make a difference, and this initiative has really brought the team closer through this endeavour.”
Indeed, kindness has proven scientific benefits; numerous studies such as those we read on www.psychologytoday.com, have shown that performing just one random act of kindness a day reduces stress, anxiety or depression, and floods the body with hormones that make both you and the person you’ve helped calmer, healthier and happier. Serotonin heals wounds and promotes relaxation and good feeling; endorphins reduce pain, and oxytocin reduces blood pressure, making us feel loving and loved. Kindness energises us, reduces aches and pains, promotes confidence and a longer life. And, even when other people witness acts of kindness by someone, they too are filled with those same feel-good hormones, making them more likely to pay it forward.
This is the premise of RAK Day: that anyone can change the world with a single act of kindness. Across the business units, Nedbankers immersed themselves in becoming fully-fledged RAKtivists. The Business Banking Team, demonstrating kindly support to Megameno Orphanage, spending an entire afternoon with the children and handed out care packages. In Namibia, orphans and vulnerable children are among the most disenfranchised groups in the community, often forgotten and misunderstood. In reaching out and interacting with them, the Team felt a strong sense of purpose.
The Nedbank Luderitz team visited an Old Age Home and delivered special care packages for the elderly, inspired by the words of Martin Luther King Jr: “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” The Lüderitz team also paid tribute to the elderly residents for the contributions they have made to society, and continue to make within their community.
The Nedbank Finance team in Windhoek supported Eros Girls’ School with care packages to remind them that there are no limitations to their dreams and aspirations. The Oshakati team also reached out to one of the less privileged members within their community, recognising those members of society who operate on the fringes with scant resources to support them.
Some random acts across the country will help to address the short-term food security challenges experienced by various vulnerable groups and in doing so lift the spirits not only the givers, but also of the recipients.
For Nedbankers, it was indeed a moving experience prompted by the company’s week-long internal campaign to make kindness through random acts the norm. “It underscored the value of community outreach and inspired a culture of volunteerism and activism through one of the simplest and most powerful human traits, kindness. We realised that anyone can change the world, it just takes love and kindness. And the ripple effect can spread across the community, towns, the country, and eventually the world,” said Selma Kaulinge – Nedbank’s Communication Manager.