52 Lives...Changing Lives and Spreading Kindness
In 2013, a young mum took her children and fled. Her partner was violent, and she
feared for their safety. They slept in a friend’s garden shed for a little while, before
getting a more permanent house. But the floors were all broken and had nails poking through. She decided to post a Wanted Ad on a website to see if anyone had any rugs they could give her. That little ad started a global movement of kindness.
You see, I saw her ad and my friends and family ended up helping that young
woman with all sorts of things for her house. The day I delivered them, she was in
tears, and it wasn’t because of the things I was giving her ...it really wasn’t that
much! It was the fact that people cared about her. As I drove away from her house, Ifelt incredible. I was on such a high (it was only later that I learnt a bit more about thescience behind why I felt that way...kindness changes our body chemistry and gives us a natural high – it’s amazing.)
I knew I wanted to do more, and so at 5am one morning, with a toddler on my lap, I
created a Facebook page and called it 52 Lives. I thought it would be a little way for
my friends and family to help people in need, but it has since grown into a global
movement of almost 100,000 people who unite every week to change people’s lives
– whether it be through buying medical equipment for seriously ill children, paying for life-saving operations, buying furniture for women who are leaving refuges, helping a homeless mother and son off the street or sending Christmas gifts to children who would otherwise receive nothing. And 100% of what people give goes to the people we help.
The philosophy behind 52 Lives goes much deeper than simply supplying goods or
services. The people we help all say the same thing - that it wasn't the
‘thing’we gave them that changed their life, it was the kindness. That human connection is what changes lives -not just of the person receiving, but also of the person giving.
In 2015, I won the Clarins Woman of the Year Award, which came with prize money.
We used that prize money to launch a School of Kindness to bring the 52 Lives
concept into primary schools all over the country. Every week we run Kindness
Workshops in primary schools, reaching almost 6,000 every year.
We truly believe that ‘kind’ is the most important thing a person can be, and we want children in classrooms all over the country to be aspiring to be kind over everything else...over rich, pretty, clever, famous...everything!
There was a worrying headline in the Time Education Supplement earlier this year...
"Bullying is the number one reason for childhood unhappiness, with both pupils andadults stating childhood has got worse..."
This is why we're doing everything we can - not just to combat bullying in schools,
but to try to prevent it in the first place. And going one step further...we don't just
want 'no bullying', we want kindness.