Every now and again, a social media hashtag campaign would do the rounds on the internet. Some would fizzle out over a few weeks, while others would simply go viral. Over the years, we have seen campaigns such as the Ice Bucket Challenge and Me Too movement literally breaking the the internet and bringing various issues to the limelight.
Similarly, in India too a small hashtag movement is slowly getting popular and it campaigns for the homeless. Started by Hyderabad based Sunitha Simon, #40actsofkindness, as the name suggests is a campaign to help the homeless with different acts of kindness for 40 days.
The campaign which began on February 14, now has 50 active members from several countries who have taken up the challenge and are spreading it.
When asked what inspired her to start this campaign, Sunitha says, “It was an impromptu decision. The Valentine’s Day fever had gripped the city. Everybody was celebrating it… people were spreading love by giving flowers and chocolates to strangers, which even I did. And it just occurred to me that why not I spread the love with something which could make people happy. So instead of gifting them chocolates. I gave a homeless person a proper meal.”
Since then, Sunitha has challenged several of her friends online to join the cause and spread the movement.
“It gave me a lot happiness when I helped a person. So I thought, why not spread the love and help more people. So I challenged my friends online with the hashtag,” she says.
She explains that 40actsofkindness works like any other campaign, where more than one person has to be challenged to partake in the cause.
“The member has to either film or take the photo of their act of kindness and share the same over social media with #40actsofkindness hashtag which possibly will help more people to join in,” said Sunitha.
However, what’s different here is that the campaign doesn’t mandate that you help people for 40 days.
Says Sunitha, “You can do it for 14 days or even a week. Every small deed counts. The idea of 40 days of challenge stemmed from the lent season where Christians abstain from meat, a few give up smoking etc. so I thought of 40 days. But I wish that the cause extends beyond 40 days and becomes a sustainable campaign and continues throughout the year.”