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Anti-Bullying Workshop for children
at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden, London

Saturday 29 March 2008

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On Saturday 29 March 2008, the Victim Support Unit for Brent – a charity organisation – ran an Anti-Bullying Workshop for young children to promote awareness of bullying in all areas of their lives. The event produced a good turnout, with almost 100 boys and around 60 girls aged 10-14 attending the two separate workshops.

Bullying occurs in playgrounds, in the classroom, at home, on the internet, at the bus stop, in undergrounds/alleyways in various forms as the children quite rightly pointed out to the presenters and is one of the most raised issues affecting children.

The boys’ workshop started off with an ice breaker in which Patrick Jacobs, from Victim Support, got the participants to prove the common cause for most bullying occurring. He explained that everyone is different in their own way but that does not give a reason to discriminate against one another. This kicked the workshop off in great fashion which then led onto asking the boys about the what’s, who’s, where’s and other knowledge in regards to bullying. There was a rush of hands enforcing the fact that the children were familiar about bullying, and one by one the balaks answered all the questions. Patrick delivered the workshop interactively in such a subtle and appreciative manner that the children willingly opened up to reveal circumstances that they had faced and experienced.

The girls’ workshop followed the same presentation as the boys’ workshop. As well as going through what bullying is, where it happens and what the main types are, role play scenarios were carried out in which girls performed to the audience their perceptions on bullying as well as concentrating on how the victim can stop this happening to them. An analysis of the ways in which bullying can be stopped was carried out. Emma and her colleague Verinder, from Victim Support, effectively presented the workshop which instilled confidence in the girls’ approach to bullying.

The workshops proved to be a real eye opener for the children. When invited, many got up of their own accord to share their personal experiences of being a victim of bullying. The other children seated in the audience were amazed to see that their fellow children had been victims of bullying. The presenter dealt with each child carefully and made sure that their situation was or is being resolved and instructed them that if they were being bullied, then they should immediately talk to someone responsible who could do something about it.

The presenters put the children in the shoes of the victim and asked them how they would feel. The majority of the responses were that they would feel upset, angry or frustrated. Therefore this exercise hit the children hard emotionally and drove home the thought of thinking twice before bullying someone.

The workshop concluded with a short exercise, where each child complimented their neighbour sitting next to them proving that there is always something good to say about everybody followed by a question and answer session, in which the children received direct answers to their searching questions which were based around bullying solutions or getting help where the presenters clearly identified that confiding in parents or mentors with whom they felt most comfortable with as the best contacts.

The feedback responses from the children expressed that this workshop hit hard the truth, whilst some explained that the sessions made them understand better how to tackle issues of bullying. They wished that these workshops had happened a lot earlier in time, whilst some were not even aware that gossiping badly about someone also amounted to bullying! The fun-packed but quite serious workshop lit some light bulbs within the children and certainly increased their awareness on bullying.