For the first time, World Kindness Day was observed in Bangladesh yesterday. It is a day that encourages individuals to overlook boundaries, race and religion.
Introduced by World Kindness Movement, the theme of the day is empathy — to feel the pain of others and extend kindness.
To mark the day, a book launching ceremony and discussion was held at The Daily Star Centre, jointly organised by Shomman Foundation and this newspaper.
Addressing the programme, speakers emphasised the importance of kindness for a happy and healthy society as well as for countering violence.
Rubaiul Murshed, founder of Shomman, said people are not conscious about the rights of helping hands — a term Murshed uses to denote domestic workers, chauffeurs, gardeners, liftmen and security guards.
Pointing to the condition of house helps, he said they are deprived of proper pay, food and place to sleep. Also, there is no time limit to their work, he added.
Usually, they do not get a weekly day off. Employers do not pay attention to the mental and physical health condition of domestic helps, who in many cases suffer for that reason. This in turn affects their work as well, especially while handling children, said Murshed.
Speakers said absence of kindness is one of the major reasons behind the increase in incidents like cruelty towards children, use of abusive words and losing temper or getting aggravated in daily activities.
Terming lack of kindness a social disease, they said it is also a major reason for social instability.
In his address, The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam said this newspaper has taken initiatives to spread the lessons of kindness through publishing such stories.