Living That Kindness

For Sivan Nathan, caring is in her bones. As a longtime One Percent supporter – and generous volunteer with our partner charity Ngā Rangatahi Toa, she lives and breathes that kindness. As a means of sharing her passion and why she does what she does, she lays out her views here on what generosity means to her, and her journey volunteering with NRT.

 

To me, generosity means doing what you can, where you can. It could be with my time, my money, my energy or my attention, but it’s always about seeing how others might share in something I have. Being generous is a way of giving thanks, of honouring my gratitude; I acknowledge what I have, I am grateful, and I pass it on in any way I can.

I remember learning about the importance of generosity to my culture, and how the ultimate form is to give when the recipient has no idea from where it has come– so as to not create shame and to preserve their integrity and pride in one’s self. To me this speaks of the constant flux in life, that there will always be a space, a want and an instinct to give, and there will always be a time when you will look for support.

I spend every Monday with my NRT whānau. We start every day with karakia and check in. Each person, adult or rangatahi, openly shares what their self-care has been the night before, what they are grateful for, how they are feeling, and what they need from the others in the room. The level of honesty, transparency and high trust is incredibly refreshing and rewarding – and it’s happening in a workplace!

Sivan Nathan – photo by Ralph Brown

Sivan Nathan – photo by Ralph Brown

Seeing the people at NRT absolutely live and breathe their mahi, and honour values of the organisation every day in every way, has been a source of inspiration for me. The connection and integrity the staff have, not only with the rangatahi but amongst each other, has truly had an impact on me, my life and how I move in the world.

The mahi of NRT is really amazing, but it can also bring with it some struggles. There’s so much vulnerability in this work. And then life happens. Things can become very challenging for everyone, it is full on, but no matter what occurs, the kaupapa at NRT is about love, kindness and compassion, and embracing a person as a whole, whatever they’re bringing to the table. This is honoured, there is a deep human connection, and space is held by everyone for sharing and release. I think it’s true reciprocity and aroha.

Those sentiments of honesty, valuing self, acceptance, gratitude, and high trust have spilled over into so much of my life. I think it has made me less scared of my own shadow.

It’s brought a certain fearlessness (something I’m not sure anyone else would have thought I needed) to the connections I have with others in my life, to how I carry myself at work, and to how I think about the future and myself.

Because I support NRT through One Percent Collective, at the NRT Matariki exhibition at a gallery in Auckland a couple months back, I was gifted a copy of one of the rangatahi photographs. It sits on my wall, above my make-up and perfumes, and I see it daily. Through photography workshops in Otara that I was part of, this young woman chose to capture wahine strength - the strength it took for her mother to take her family and turn away from the comfort but harm of a gang community.

Strength, by Harmony

Strength, by Harmony

The photo sits with me differently each day. Sometimes it’s her eyes that catch me, sometimes the overwhelming emblems of the gang, sometimes I’m making up stories about what happened. Sometimes I think about her, but usually it’s about me, and my family, and my life, and my community, and my choices. She makes me brave.

Written by Sarah Longbottom, as told by Sivan Nathan.


A message from NRT Executive Director Sarah Longbottom: “At Ngā Rangatahi Toa, generosity is our lifeblood. We want to salute the crew at One Percent Collective, and all the amazing donors, including the wonderful Sivan, for contributing to making the world a better place.”

NRT inspires kids excluded from mainstream education to confidently build a brighter future through intensive arts mentoring, mindfulness & yoga, and wrap-around whanau support. Learn more about what they do and support them with just 1% of your income!