Givo Goodness

Cinema for the visually impaired gives moviegoers new sights

Inside a small cinema in Jakarta, Indonesia, muffled back-and-forth conversation can be heard as movie watchers talk quietly amongst each other.


No – they aren’t being rude. This is a typical night at Bioskop Bisik, a “whisper cinema” designated to help visually impaired people enjoy a movie with the help of volunteers describing the scene.


“I want people to accept that people with disabilities, especially people with visual impairments are part of society,” the mastermind behind the cinema, Cici Suciati, told AJ+.


Screenings are held in the second week of every month at an alternative cafe space that deems itself as a “culinary cinema”. Volunteers are recruited through social media, many of whom help out regularly.


“This is a new and fun way of volunteering. I can give something to others in a way that’s never been done before and I’m able to see differently from their perspective,” Dina, a volunteer, told The Jakarta Post.


While listening to the audio can give visually impaired moviegoers a good idea of what’s going on, it often is not enough to set the provide all the information needed to understand a scene. An out-of-context scream, for example, can be interpreted as one of joy or frustration.


“This helps me a lot in terms of widening my horizons as a visually impaired person who likes movies very much,” said Siswanto of the initiative.


Photo Credits: The Jakarta Post

NYC restaurant hires grandmothers to recreate taste of home

Hawa Jimiez hails from Liberia. She used to work a cleaning job, but now, she’s a chef at a restaurant in Staten Island, where she cooks up Liberian dishes and shares a taste of her country with the New York City crowd.


“I love cooking,” said Hawa Jimiez, a Liberian grandmother.


The restaurant she works at is called Enoteca Maria. Originally serving just Italian cuisine, Jody Scaravella, an Italian himself, started the restaurant when his mother and grandmother passed away, and he was left missing the comfort food he had grown up with.


Scaravella then put an advertisement out for Italian “nonnas” – or grandmothers – to cook at the restaurant. The response was overwhelming; seeing the concept take off and the joy it brought to diners knowing the food they’re eating is as authentic as they come, Scaravella began hiring “nonnas” from other countries too.


The main kitchen is staffed by at least one Italian “nonna”; downstairs, grandmothers from other countries take turns on a rotating basis, cooking up a storm when it’s their evening to shine.


On one night, the hearty dishes of Liberia – courtesy of Jimiez – might be on the menu. The next, diners may have their pick among Polish, Syrian or Nigerian specialties.


Since 2007, Enoteca Maria has proven itself to be a popular concept for diners longing for a simpler time; it’s also giving grandmothers employment in a skill they’ve honed with experience – dishing up food that’s straight from the heart.

A Year in Review [IG Top Posts]

A Year in Review of some of best stories! Missed them and don’t want to scroll to find these - not to worry, we have a summarised list on for your happy perusing :) 


1. Skatistan   - a story of inspiration through play. Leadership training, education, and skateboarding, what’s not to love about this empowering NGO. 


2. France's Food Affair - all the need-to-know about France’s law passed this year retiring supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities. A yummy inspiring story.


3. @littlecloverbigcity  , need I say more? 


4. Timeless wise words from Maya Angelou


5. A quick snippet of the #HOWRU campaign created by #SamaritansOfSingapore for Suicide Prevention Day.


6. Toys R Us tries out“quiet hours” for kids affected by the autism spectrum in an initiative, and it isn’t a surprise that people are pressing more companies to do this on the regular. 


7. Street Books - our first longer feature! Read up on an organisation changing a neighbourhood, and perceptions of the homeless, one paperback at a time. 


8. Throw Kindness Like confetti - more confetti please we say! A story on the NGO Modest Needs. 


9. Good Vibes Only - @alexjfowkes  reminding people near and far. What better way to enter the new year, goodness knows good vibes will always have a place with us at Givo. 

One woman’s mission to light up her town for Christmas

This Christmas, one American town is shining a little brighter – thanks to Victoria Coakley and her project to “light up” the west end of Louisville, Kentucky.


Coakley told local news station WLKY that it is her mission to bring more decorations to West Louisville.


“Instead of seeing the abandoned houses with cardboard on them and graffiti, I want them to see Christmas lights,” Coakley said.


Since the beginning of December, Coakley has been collecting decorations and stringing them around the neighborhood with the help of volunteers. Coakley received enough to decorate about 100 homes.


Coakley’s efforts to light up the this part of Louisville have been well received by the people of the neighborhood, who agree that this gives the town some much needed positivity.


“It is all about the kids, just trying to give them some kind of inspiration,” Stallard, a local resident, said.


As captioned in a Facebook post, the west end of Louisville doesn’t have many Christmas lights. Children deserve to see Christmas spirit, regardless of the neighborhood they live in.


"It changes the atmosphere of everything. There's not really a lot of activity or positive things going on that you can visually see. So the lights are something that you can see," Coakley said.

Scrooge the Ticket: Residents in Ontario town to donate instead of paying parking fines

Traffic police in the Ontario town of Innisfil are inviting drivers to “scrooge the ticket” this holiday season by donating to a local food bank instead of paying off their parking tickets.

Last year, the first “Scrooge the Ticket” initiative was a huge success, collecting over USD 1,200 worth of toys, food and gift cards. This year, Innisfil is running it again: up till December 9, those who have been slapped with a parking ticket can opt to bring items of an equal or greater value than their fine to the town hall. Donations go to the Innisfil Community Church’s Christmas Outreach Program.

Innisfil isn’t the first to implement such an initiative. In America, cities in Colorado, Virginia and Kentucky have allowed parking violators to pay their fines with a donation to the food pantry.

The inventive idea makes a not-so-fun activity – paying a parking ticket fine – a gentle reminder that we can all do our part to contribute to the lives of those who are less fortunate. Residents who haven’t received a parking ticket are welcome to donate as well.

“No one likes to get a parking ticket, but this is a thoughtful way to have our residents give generously to a great cause leading into the holiday season,” Mayor Gord Wauchope said.

"Hold on, wait". A story of Yukio Shige, a man who patrols lonely Japanese coasts to prevent others from suicide.

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Some years ago, 29-year-old Yutaka Yamaoka was sitting by the Tojinbo cliffs, contemplating suicide after unemployment hit him hard. But a retired Japanese police officer found him, spoke with him for two hours and invited him to stay at his apartment. The ex-officer comforted Yamaoka, letting him know that suicide is never the answer.

Such is the work of Yukio Shige. Now in his seventies, Shige dedicates his life to patrolling the Tojinbo cliffs overlooking the Sea of Japan and preventing people from committing suicide.

Japan has one of the highest suicide rates among developed countries in the world, and the Tojinbo cliffs is notorious for suicides. Shige and his team of volunteers come to the cliffs everyday on the lookout for people who are contemplating putting an end to their lives. They also provide temporary homes for them to repair and rebuild their lives.

Shige, known as “chotto matte” man, which translates to “hold on, wait”, has saved over 500 lives in the past ten years. Inspired by the suicide of a close friend, Shige understands the pain of dealing with suicide and wants to let those feeling depressed know they are never alone. He criticizes the lack of care on the part of local authorities for the country’s high suicide rate.

“I will continue until the government finally gets its act together and takes over,” he said. “I can’t let their inaction cost another precious life.”

More on this story here

Turkeys not Tickets

Officers in Fort Worth, Texas, hand out turkeys instead of tickets in time for the holiday season!

Traffic officers in the town of Fort Worth, Texas, are changing things up a little: they’re handing out turkeys instead of tickets just in time for the holiday season. “Even though we do enforce traffic law and we do have some unpleasant decisions to make, we still are about the people,” said Officer Anthony Colter. Colter made five traffic stops on Wednesday, each time giving the driver a turkey to take home. 

Five teams of officers have been handing out Thanksgiving turkeys across the city to drivers, a welcome surprise for drivers who thought they were going to be pulled over and slapped with a hefty fine. The Thanksgiving turkeys were left over from a community project in which officers were bringing food to local residents.

 The act of kindness is spreading some much needed holiday cheer during the post-election season in America, where tensions are running high and citizens are feeling unheard.

“I’m pleased to see it, because there’s so much hate in this country right now,” one motorist said. “To see brotherly love, it’s very, very inspiring.”

Photo (and turkey) credits to Fort Worth Police Department