Banner: Send Happiness

Sending Happiness with WordPress

This is hopefully the first of a new kind of post on HeroPress.  This post is about someone doing something heroic with WordPress, but it doesn’t quite fit the essay model.  I’d love feedback on what you think.

A couple weeks ago Matt Cromwell sent me a note on Slack that said “Did you meet the team behind this project in Pune?” http://sendhappiness.org/

I had never heard of it, so I went to do some research.

Little girl holding a piece of cake.Send Happiness is the personal project of a man named Sunny Luthra.  Some time ago Sunny was buying some treats at a bakery in Pune, India, and noticed that outside the bakery were a number of children looking longingly at the store.  He realized they’d probably never had a treat like that before, and probably never would.  So he bought them some treats.

The joy they expressed, and the smiles on their faces brought him a great deal of happiness. He wanted to continue that happiness, so soon he was going to bakeries every weekend and buying treats for the kids.  The kids weren’t the only ones being changed, Sunny was changing too.

Some Background

I assumed Sunny was a professional WordPress developer.  The Send Happiness site uses WordPress and WooCommerce on the backend, with a completely custom front end written in Angular.js accessing the WordPress REST API.  Sounds professional, right?

As it turns out Sunny was a PHP developer some years ago, wrote some clever software based on Facebook, and sold it for a tidy profit.  I asked how he made his living and he said “now i mostly don’t work for money”.  He does love WordPress, and has built many sites with it, but these days it’s just for fun.

He’s also apparently quite honest.  I asked him how he got into Web development in the first place, and he said he learned HTML and Javascript in college.  “I wanted to hack people’s mail account and want to create a phishing site. really regret this“.

Building a Site for Everyone Else

Sunny found so much joy in bringing children happiness that he launched Send Happiness to make it easier for others to experience the same feeling. People can use Send Happiness to purchase sweets.  Once they have purchased one of five available sweets, Sunny provides the sweet to an underprivileged child and sends the purchaser a picture of them enjoying the sweet.

I checked the prices, and the most expensive sweet on the site is 68¢ US.

We’re not talking about a lot of cash here.  Sunny could easily buy all the candy himself, but that doesn’t give others the opportunity to bring a smile to a kid.  The Web site is as much for everyone else as it is for the kids.

The cynical side of me thought for a bit about whether this was taking advantage of the poverty of children to make better off people feel happier.  It could be used that way, but the optimist in me wants to believe that someone who gives sweets to children can’t help but be changed for the better.

Heroes Galore

I wanted to write this post because Sunny is now one of my heroes. He could do just about anything he wanted, and he chose to make children smile.  Then he put work into making it so everyone else can make children smile too.

Now you can be a hero.  Those kids will probably never know who you are, but they’ll know that someone out there somewhere cared enough to give them a treat.

At the moment Send Happiness only works for people who live in India, but Sunny’s working on making it possible for people anywhere to be able to take part.

If you live in India and you’d like to make a kid smile, give it a shot.

3 comments

  1. Simply awesome. We always think that, we should do something for those poor children and people like Sunny, they just do it. Hats off to sunny. And HeroPress, you are really a Hero. Thank you for sharing such kind of articles.

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