World Hello Day – Encouraging Peace and Challenging Isolation

We wanted to celebrate World Hello Day, reflecting on the ongoing need to promote peace and also to challenge isolation and loneliness in our communities.

People around the world use the occasion of World Hello Day as an opportunity to express their concern for world peace.  Beginning with a simple greeting on World Hello Day, their activities send a message to leaders, encouraging them to use communication rather than force to settle conflicts.

Their challenge is to say hello to ten people in one day.  How hard can that be..?

Joe is a Your Consortium staff member who offered the following reflection:

 

Hello….
It’s the first thing we say when we greet people, a word we use many times a day. Like much of our everyday language, we take it for granted without thinking too much about its importance.

It’s just another politeness thing isn’t it? Like saying please and thank you? Well in a way yes, but there’s always a reason why we use the words we do. Sometimes we can’t see their importance straightaway, because they’re so commonplace. Yet how could we even communicate without a word to start the conversation?

Everyone knows communication is important – staying in touch with loved ones, seeing how your friends are, having a lunchtime natter with workmates – saying hello. But we took for granted how easy it was to see and talk to whoever, whenever. Most of us would see a large number of people every day, whether it was through our jobs or social lives, and strike up countless conversations face to face. You can probably see where I’m going here! In 2020, life rapidly had to change.

Before, we never had to worry about our grandparents losing out on social contact due to shielding. We never thought about not seeing friends whenever we wanted. Adapting to this sudden change, we’ve had to find solutions to make up for what we can’t do right now. One of the few blessings in the pandemic is our current technology. For those of us fortunate enough to have this access, it’s made the difference between near-total isolation and having people to talk to every week.

So I can phone, WhatsApp and text my family to know they’re okay. I can even FaceTime friends and share the hope that we can see each other in person before too long. And of course I can see my teammates each week on Zoom.

Every Tuesday and Thursday at 2pm, YCL meet over Zoom to check in, boost morale and have a good chuckle! We’ve done this every week since March, because we’ve worked from home the whole year. In every session, we have a pre-arranged question that everyone answers to keep it interesting. We’ve had everything from what animal we’d be and why, to who you’d invite to your fantasy dinner party! These half-hour chats brighten up our weeks, reducing the isolation that home working can bring. Whilst we do also have plenty of Zoom work-oriented meetings through the week, we’ve found a little dedicated social time is hugely important to our staff wellbeing.

What’s the takeaway message from this? I’d say it’s important to find little, but regular ways of keeping in touch with people. Saying hello to someone who’s barely heard a friendly voice all week will make a big difference. For those who don’t have the luxury of IT access or IT literacy, we should be doing all we can to support them with this. The programmes we manage, like ATI and Community Grants, help to enable phenomenal work by our amazing partners, and this includes building digital inclusion and preventing loneliness in those who’ve been hit hardest by the lockdowns.

Is there anything particular that you or your organisation does to connect to one another?

Tell us about it in the comments.

For more on World Hello Day check out their website here…

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