The Kindness of Strangers

Showing kindness to strangers  ̶ a noble sentiment to be sure. But to put into practice, that’s something else. From the time we are young, we are taught to be suspicious of strangers. Our parents told us not even to talk to them. As adults, it’s so easy to be wary of people we don’t know, especially those who look or sound different from us.

To overcome those patterns and habits by showing kindness to a stranger is not just a singular accomplishment — it is an action that enriches the soul and brings joy to the heart.

Photo credit: Toronto Life

On Wednesday, May 30, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, Refugee 613 is thrilled to bring you The Kindness of Strangers, an evening of stories by thoughtful, dynamic individuals who have done just that. They will tell you what they did, what it means to them, and how you can do it, too.

Leading the speakers on the National Arts Centre’s Fourth Stage, will be entrepreneur and philanthropist Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Appliances. Jim will share the story of how — and why — he put his business savvy to work when he invested close to $2 million of his own money to bring more than 50 Syrian refugee families to his community of Guelph, ON. (Hint: Jim says he has found the secret to happiness, and it’s not making another $10 million in sales).

Ahmed Hussen landed in Toronto from Somalia as a 16-year-old refugee with little more than a change of clothes. He became a lawyer and a community leader, and today he is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Min. Hussen is also an African-Canadian and a Muslim, and he has experienced both Canada’s generosity and its prejudice. He will share his take on the unkindness of strangers, the importance of inclusion and what’s at stake in getting it right.

Midia Shikh Hassan recently received a Young Leaders Award from Queen Elizabeth II in London, but her proudest achievements have been the programs and tech startups this young social entrepreneur has launched right here in Ottawa. Midia will share the story of how she overcame her own questions and reservations to reach out to people she doesn’t know, and work with them to make a difference in the world.

Make plans to join us on May 30 to hear these and other inspiring speakers explore how kindness and altruism bring meaning to everyday life, and how you can create more impact for yourself and your community.

The Kindness of Strangers is a fundraiser for Refugee 613’s Podcasting Project, a pilot initiative to bring information and practical advice on the Canadian financial system to refugee newcomers via their smartphones.

To buy tickets, click here for our Eventbrite page.

For information on sponsoring the evening or the Podcasting Project directly, please send an email to Sally at info@refugee613.ca.

We’ll be posting more about each of our speakers in the coming days, so drop by here soon or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The short, intimate and powerful stories of The Kindness of Strangers will energize and inspire, no matter whether you are just getting started or looking for new motivation.