Abdullah Al-Mohannadi, a seventh-grade student at Qatar Academy Al Khor, is taking a stand against bullying. The young advocate has created a project that aims to raise awareness of bullying – and the psychological effects on young people – which he hopes to roll out to schools across the country.
Explaining the idea behind the project, Al-Mohannadi says: “I have been thinking about this since I was in the fourth grade, when a new student joined the school and started being bullied by classmates.
“He was polite and had a very high academic performance, but he was shy. The bullies did not leave him alone – they made fun of him all the time, called him names, wouldn’t involve him in games and activities, and threw objects at him when the teachers were not paying attention.
“When we moved to the fifth grade, I was shocked to learn that he had left the school, and when I investigated the reason, I realized it was because of bullying.”
It was this event that inspired Al-Mohannadi to create “Peace Leaders”, a group that aims to combat bullying among school students and educate young people on its long-lasting psychological effects.
“I prepared a form for those who want to join the group and take part in its activities, through which the students pledge not to remain silent about bullying in the school and promise to intervene and inform the administration to take immediate action when and where possible. I also worked on a project that aims to raise awareness about bullying and sat a time frame for its implementation, spanning five years, which is the period of middle school,” Al-Mohannadi says.
The five-year plan, which aims to implement activities that support peace, will first be rolled out across Qatar Academy Al Khor – part of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Pre-University Education (PUE). It will then be applied to all QF schools, with the final stage including all schools in Qatar.
One of the project’s activities included a clip that was recently posted on social media featuring messages such as: “How many ideas have been hindered by bullying? How many talents have been oppressed? How many ambitions have been destroyed? Enough… Stop bullying!”
In collaboration with Qatar National Library, Al-Mohannadi also recently conducted a virtual workshop that addressed the definition of bullying and its various forms in the school setting, including verbal abuse, physical abuse, and deliberate exclusion from activities, as well as cyberbullying. He spoke about likely reasons and motives behind bullying and suggested some solutions.
“There could be many motives behind bullying. It may be jealousy, an attempt to get attention or feel powerful, or maybe the bully may have been bullied themselves.”
Other planned activities include hanging the peace sign on walls of the school, in coordination with faculty and staff, and sending out a questionnaire to QF schools to evaluate the group and ask for suggestions on how to further develop it. Additionally, Al-Mohannadi hopes to increase awareness around the effects of bullying whereby students wear T-shirts that read “No to Bullying”. This could coincide with the international day.
“Role-playing could be used as a tool, too, where the bully acts as the victim and see how it feels to be the other person. And victims should be encouraged to communicate with specialists,” he adds.
Explaining his hopes for the future of the group and project, he says: “I look forward to working with academic and charitable institutions to organize an event that calls for peace among students in the country, and to rally diplomats, ambassadors, and representatives from other countries to celebrate peace.”
Al-Mohannadi's anti-bullying project won the recently announced Akhlaquna Junior Award for 2021, an initiative that aims to instill positive values and good morals in school students and strengthen ties between them and the community.
Source and cover image credit: QF
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