A campaign devised by TISS students aims at tackling bullying among adolescents; will now be taken to other parts of the city

Campaign against bullying to travel all around the city

Posters made by BASS

Bullying as a concept is still not known to all, figured the students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) when they conducted a two-day campaign on bullying in adolescents, as part of their academic project. The campaign designed by final year students of Masters in Social Work at TISS was held in collaboration with Bal Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (BASS), in Mankhurd’s Lallubhai Compound.

“We were clear that we wanted to devise a campaign based on a model of self-participation. We wanted the children to identify what bullying means to them rather than us pointing it out. Most of the children are from BMC schools but the model can be extended to any other school,” Joshita Nag, 23, a team member from TISS said.

On the first day, the TISS students interacted with the members of BASS, a children’s collective facilitated by child rights organisation YUVA, and organised activities like making posters with anti-bullying messages like ‘bully nahin, buddy baniye’. They also screened clips from films like Koi Mil Gaya that show instances of the act.

TISS student Jotisha Nag, BASS member Samreen Shah and YUVA member Prakash Bhaware

TISS student Jotisha Nag, BASS member Samreen Shah and YUVA member Prakash Bhaware

“We didn’t even know the word ‘bully’. For instance, if someone calls me Summer-reen instead of Samreen or says that I am ‘jada’ or ‘patla’, I know that they aren’t just making fun of me,” BASS representative Samreen Shah, 14, said. The next day, the campaign was staged in Lallubhai Compound in front of about 300 people where BASS put up a street play, set up a kiosk with the posters and even performed rap songs.

“The play was called Lallubhai Tula Majhyavar Bharosa Nai Ka? and highlighted how bullying is interconnected to child labour, domestic violence, and alcoholism among other things,” Prakash Bhaware, community manager at YUVA revealed. The event generated a lot of interest among locals who suggested that the collective take the campaign to schools — thus passing the baton to the children to spread the message.

“We didn’t want this to just be a two-day thing, so we will take the initiative further starting with our own locality. Next week we will set up a kiosk in an area where we know bullying takes place,” Shah said, adding that the campaign, apart from Mankhurd, will be held in Malad and Bandra and gradually, more neighbourhoods in the city.

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