Cape Town - After seeing bullying take the life of Limpopo pupil Lufuno Mavhunga, 12-year-old Lilah Davies was prompted to start an anti-bullying organisation.
The Grade 6 pupil at Plumstead Preparatory School, who also fell victim to bullying due to her curly hair, told of the difficulties she endured during that period of her life, which inspired her to want to bring about change.
“It was a very sad and unpleasant time for me. I became withdrawn and didn’t have any friends. When I think back to that time, I was too scared to tell anyone. I thought that bullies would find out if I told my teacher or parents and decided not to do anything about it,” she said.
Lilah said she was mindful of the fact that most victims of bullying do not report incidents out of fear, which is why the Bully-No-More campaign follows the concept of the “bully-no-more” report boxes.
’’Two boxes will be assigned to each school, one for each restroom. The restrooms were chosen as the location place for the boxes because it is usually a place one visits alone, where a note may be discreetly placed into a box. The boxes will remain 100% confidential and anonymous with the solution of immediate and effective help without judgement of either party.’’
She said the locked boxes will be checked daily by the school guidance teacher and principal. Depending on the severity of the case, it will be determined if the school may follow protocol or whether intervention from the safe schools unit from the Department of Education is required.
“The campaign will provide schools with the opportunity to intervene in incidences of bullying and provision of support, help and counselling of both victim and bully with hopefully repair the hostile relationship.’’
Lilah hopes to make school a safe environment by preventing suicide and depression that is induced by bullying. Furthermore, she hopes the box will eradicate school dropout rates due to pressure and academic struggles.
The campaign is sponsored by Resolve Secretarial Services and Square Edge Design Studio.
Other companies are welcome to sponsor schools with a set of boxes at the cost of R250 per box. This includes installation and printing of the company’s name preceded by “sponsored by”. Donations of box locks and installation services are also welcomed.
Owner of Square Edge Design Studio Stuart Nix, who has the Bully-No-More boxes printed free of charge, said that he felt that bullying in schools needed exposure and intervention at all levels.
“I was born in the UK and I was bullied myself so I understand what it is like and how it affects you. Bullying affects your whole life negatively,” he said.
He said that it was incredible that an initiative as important as this was started by someone so young, which inspired him to lend a helping hand to the cause.
Spokesperson for the Western Cape Education Department, Millicent Merton said that the department commended Lilah on her initiative as it highlighted the devastating effects of bullying and alternative methods of reporting bullying and providing solutions for all parties affected.