Studies have shown that when you care for others, are kind to others and give to others it boosts your immune system and strengthens your mental health. Beyond the personal benefits, giving and sharing creates stronger connections between people and communities and helps build a happier society for everyone.
One of the guiding principles for happiness, as advocated by Professor Lea Waters (PhD), is ‘giving back’ and Aussies can do this by being kind to the people who make them smile, the nature that makes them feel alive and the animals that inspire their curiosity. Fiji has numerous opportunities for visitors to spread kindness on their next holiday in the Pacific, which will in return, make them feel rich with happiness.
1. Spread kindness through supporting remote villages
In Fiji, it’s the people who make you smile. There are multiple ways to reciprocate the ‘Bula Spirit’ and help those who make you feel happy. Vinaka Fiji Volunteering invites travellers to share the magic of Fiji while helping the people of the remote villages of the Yasawa Islands. Travellers can choose from helping with key areas of need which range from teaching young school children, planting crops, installing water tanks or working in baby clam nurseries. Sigatoka River Safaris and Talanoa Treks both take travellers to remote villages in Fiji and the cost of the experiences go directly back to those communities to fund development projects.
2. Spread kindness through helping those wanting to learn
In 2014 Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort saw that its local school district was in need of some help and that guests were eager to help. Its Community Tourism initiative initially started off with staff and guests alike helping to build a large Bure at Conua School in the Sigatoka Valley. Nowadays, guests can assist in building additional classrooms, while also getting the special opportunity to interact with the local school children, share a bowl of kava with the local villagers and finish off the day with a visit to one of Fiji’s most prestigious cultural sites, Taveuni Hill Fort. It’s become a quintessential experience for guests at Outrigger and a way for them to give something back to their ever-smiling Fiji hosts.
3. Spread kindness through planting trees
Spreading kindness can extend all the way to Mother Nature in Fiji. Visitors can offset their carbon footprint from their flight to Fiji by planting mangroves with various tourism operators, including Beqa Adventure Divers, Uprising Beach Resort and Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa. These newly planted mangroves have an immediate benefit for the adjacent reefs and act as a nursery for marine life as they grow over time. It’s a beautiful way for visitors to leave their mark in Fiji and directly contribute to the natural beauty of the country.
4. Spread kindness through protecting the marine life
Kindness isn’t limited to just humans – visitors can play a vital role in spreading kindness to the marine life of Fiji as well! Treasure Island Resort runs the Hawksbill Turtle Conservation program and helps to give these beautiful animals the protection they deserve. The resort’s Little Treasures Kids’ Club gives children the opportunity to help with the conservation efforts by encouraging them to forage for turtle treats and helping make the turtle pools feel nice and homely.
5. Spread kindness through helping to regenerate the coral eco-system
The oceans deserve all the kindness in the world and guests can have a direct influence by being kind to the soft coral capital of the world. At Castaway ‘s Island Resort, there is a weekly Ozone program every Thursday, in which guests can participate in assisting their in-house environmental officer in coral planting initiatives. So far, this program has successfully planted more than 100 football fields worth of coral since 2014. Similar initiatives can be found at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa and Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa. Coral eco-systems are key in providing food, shelter and protection. A strong coral eco-system makes for a happy ocean, which makes for happy animals and happy people – a win for creating a happy planet!