In this edition of Groundup Features: we speak with Anupriya - Founder of kindheroes.club, a groundup which aims to enable children to be change agents and make a difference in their communities. Hear from Anupriya as she shares about the inspiration behind kindheroes.club, the challenges she has faced and how she hopes kindheroes.club can continue to share the message that every kind action, no matter big or small, matters.
Hi everyone, I am Anupriya Muthukumar! I moved to Singapore with my family 7 years ago. I have two sweet kids at home – a six-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. I am a Senior Executive in the Banking and Financial IT industry.
I founded kindheroes.club in December 2020 along with a few of my friends, with a mission to enable kids to be change agents and to make a difference in their communities. It had been in the works for quite some time but being a foreign national in Singapore, I was a little hesitant about how to move forward with starting the initiative. I had questions about the technicalities and processes such as whether to register as a full-fledged non-profit initiative.
Thankfully, I had the opportunity to speak with my friend, Letchumanan Narayanan, who was previously with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY). He shared with me about ground-up initiatives in Singapore and spoke about Groundup Central’s support and resources for these groups. Knowing that I had an alternative other than being a full-fledged non-profit initiative, gave me the confidence to start Kindheroes.club.
A couple of parents and I have been talking about how to raise our children to be socially conscious and empathetic. Last year, just before COVID-19 hit, my daughter came home one day and was talking about the Australia bushfires and how millions of animals lost their lives due to the fire. So, I asked her, “Why don’t you do something about it?” and she responded, “But I’m just a small kid, what can I do?” That got me thinking about how children are naturally prone to be kind and genuinely caring about the things happening around them. However, they do not know what to do or how to go about helping the causes they believe in.
So yes, my daughter is the inspiration behind kindheroes.club!
Kindheroes.club has two different areas of focus. Our first area of focus is to roll out small activities or challenges that children can do independently. These activities are designed with a specific theme in mind – like our most recent challenge, which had a kindness theme. Future themes we are looking to explore include racial harmony and the environment. We hope the activities can get the children thinking about these issues.
The second area of focus, which is our longer-term goal, is to build a tech platform where children can make a journal about what they have done so far. They will also be able to reach out to other individuals in this ecosystem for support such as advice on how to start an initiative, funding for that very same initiative and even collaboration with each other.
We hope the tech platform and journal can chart the results of what the kids have done over the years and allow them to look back on their efforts.
At kindheroes.club, the first point of our mission is to give children a platform and opportunity to make a difference. They should not be held back just because they do not know how to do it. The second point of our mission is to show the world what these children can do. We want everyone to believe in the power of action. Whether small or big, it does make a difference. The third point of our mission is to make the learning experience fun, engaging and socially conscious for them.
Our vision is for children to grow up to be kind and empathetic leaders and social entrepreneurs. They can tackle the world’s biggest challenges because they have grown up thinking about these issues.
When a child is born or when they are growing up, they do not have inhibitions about who to play with. They do not differentiate by colour, race, or religion. They have a genuine caring nature within them. However, when they grow up, where does that empathy go? Why do they not bring it into their everyday lives? That is a gap we noticed, and the gap is what we are trying to address.
The work does not end with just attending one event and being certified a “kind hero”. It must be a continual conversation or activity which reminds the children to embrace the kind spirit in them. They must believe in the power of their actions; however small it might be. Even of if it something as simple as saying “Good Morning” to a stranger, it brings joy to others. We want to reinforce the idea that their actions matter and impacts others.
We sounded out the initial challenge idea with our local group representation constituency (GRC) and they were happy to support us, knowing that the challenge would benefit the kids in the area. They told us to let them know when and where they had to be, and they will be there. That really gave us a lot of encouragement.
My daughter had previously studied at our local PCF Sparkletots, so I was able to connect with the Principal and teachers there. I reached out to them to share more about the kindness challenge and to have a gauge of how the PCF students would respond to it. It was a challenge sheet with 12 simple kindness tasks such as saying good morning, holding the door for or writing a kind note for someone. We were pleasantly surprised by the response as we had received 62 submissions of the challenge sheet. Some were fully completed; others were partially completed but it is the effort that matters.
The kindness challenge was definitely a memorable moment for me. We had parents write to us, sharing about the sweet conversations they had about sharing, forgiving, and doing chores, with their children. It really touches our heart to see how genuine the children are in doing their tasks and helping their parents with the chores.
A week after the challenge, we held a completion ceremony and West Coast GRC Member of Parliament (MP), Ms Rachel Ong Sin Yen personally attended the ceremony. She awarded trophies to all participating students and they were seen posing happily with their trophies, and congratulation each other.
Quite recently, the teachers told me that their students were still talking about the kindness challenge. We were happy to hear that it was a positive experience for them, and we hope to keep the momentum going.
One of the challenges would be the outreach that kindheroes.club has. Ideally, we would like to invite more children, parents, and mentors to join the club as this would allow for more collaborative and impactful activities within the club. Now that we are a part of the Groundup Central membership, we are excited to be able to connect with the right audience and partners!
Another challenge would be the tech platform we are hoping to build. Being in the IT industry, I understand that it is important to build a robust and safe platform for the children. Cybersecurity is my top priority but at the same time, I hope for it to be fun and engaging.
We are looking to work with other initiatives or partners who can help in building this platform in a safe and cost-effective manner.
If you are passionate about a cause, do not have a fear of process or execution. We should not be holding back just because we do not know how to move forward.
Have an idea but need support? Leverage on the Groundup Central ecosystem or connect with existing ground-up initiatives, all of whom can partner alongside you to help you grow your cause. With these new connections and having someone check in on us from time to time, it helps to remove the fatigue factor we might feel.
To borrow an IT analogy – when I started kindheroes.club, it felt like a “Walk in The Clouds” kind of project as there was no clarity about how to get started on the vision I had in mind. However, knowing that I now have access to resources and support, it has now progressed to a “On a Quest” kind of project. I have much more clarity on the vision, and where we would need help, which is a good start!
Do not try to do it all at the same time! As a woman leader myself, I do tell myself that we can have it all but not at the same time. It is important to pace it out and utilise the bursts of energy we have.
If there is something on your to-do-list but you have not done it, make a note and come back to it when you are in the right mental space to process it.
From the recent kindness challenge we held, my takeaway was that we needed to approach the smallest and littlest stakeholder in the city – the children. It is not just the children who are involved in these challenges. The children are getting their parents, grandparents, and teachers to talk about it!
When a child in your household is talking about kindness, you feel a sense of responsibility to step up and walk the talk as well. Through these conversations about kindness and giving back to the society, it serves as a reminder to us as well.
Although little, these children are impactful and influential stakeholders who can help Singapore become a City of Good.
I am a mama’s girl so I would say the best beverage to have would be my mother’s filter coffee – we call it Kaapi.
Kindheroes.club is on the lookout for volunteers to join their core team and welcomes anyone who is passionate about raising children who are socially conscious and empathetic, to join them.
* This feature has been edited for clarity
About the author:
Jannelle is Content Producer at Groundup Central. Armed with her camera, she looks forward to meeting & documenting the everyday heroes of our lives.
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