A day-long carnival has been held under the title “No to bullying” for school-age children at the church of St Nikolaus in Banha, some 50km north of Cairo. The event, held under the auspices of Anba Maximos, Bishop of Banha and Qouessna, aimed at raising awareness among pupils and young students to the pain inflicted upon victims of bullying.
Supervising the carnival was Fr Lucas Wagdy of St Nikolaus, and Mirette Milad who is responsible for the social service at the church.
The day began with Mass, after which the children were handed colorful booklets listing the activities of the carnival. Everyone cheered the carnival theme “No to Bullying”, and listened to an explanation of what constitutes bullying: “a type of violence intentionally and repeatedly exercised by a child on another child in person or online, ranging from physical harm to verbal and psychological abuse which can lead to exclusion, depression and sometimes suicide”. Verses from the Bible were quoted to demonstrate how wicked bullying is, including one from the Wisdom of Sirach 27:31 “Mockery and reproach are of the proud.”
The children were treated to a marionette show and theatre sketches. They took part in balloon games and an art workshop. A group of children collectively coloured a giant painting on the theme of the carnival, while another group assembled a puzzle of the same painting. The children immensely enjoyed this collaborative work.
While the children carried on with their activities in the church backyard, their mothers attended a meeting in the church where they listened to Suzy Farid, expert on family affairs, talk on bullying: its hazards, the reasons that drive children to inflict it, and how to deal with it.
The highlight of the carnival was a performance under the title: “The time machine”, which depicted a little girl who was victim of bullying by her peers. In sympathy, a scientist friend lets her use a time machine he had invented. She goes back in time and finds herself encountering the biblical figure of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. However, God raises him to become the most powerful man after Pharaoh in Egypt, and he rescues the entire region from famine.
As the carnival drew to an end, the children excitedly expressed how happy they were, and how much they had learnt. “We learned never to make fun of or mock anyone … If anyone has a fall, we will never laugh, because now we know how cruel this is … And we also learned to love and forgive, just as Joseph forgave his brothers.”
Egypt’s first national campaign calling to end peer-to-peer violence ‘Anti-Bullying’ was launched last September 2018 under the auspices of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education (MOETE), and in cooperation with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and funded by the European Union (EU). It targeted school children of various ages.
11 February 2019