James speaks up and stands tall
James cries every time he remembers how he is bullied at school because of being stunted. “My classmates bully me,” sponsored child James says.
“Whenever I share my ideas, especially when we work on our projects, they don’t listen to me. They always tell me, ‘Shut up, do not interrupt us,’” he says.
Every time James hears this, he always belittles himself, which affects his self-esteem.
“There are times that when we have projects, I do not know whether I should just keep silent even if I know my ideas will work or if I have to insist my ideas because I am afraid my teacher will not give me good grades for not participating,” he adds.
James is being discriminated in school because of being stunted; his height does not match his age.
“They always tell me that I am short. And I am useless,” James says while wiping his tears with his small fingers. “Even in playing basketball, which is my favourite sport; my classmates do not want me to join them so I just go home and stay in our house,” he says.
There are times that going to school gives so much distress to James.
“I do not want to go to class anymore because I do not want them to keep on teasing and discriminating my height,” he says.
But when James started to join World Vision activities, he started to notice the difference.
“I was so happy to hear from our neighbor, who is a World Vision volunteer, that they are inviting me to join the Child-focused Disaster Risk Reduction training in our village.
“During our CFDRR training, my fellow children in our barangay (village) and I shared our ideas on how we can help to prevent disaster that may happen in our community.
“I felt so relieved that I was able to speak and the barangay [village] officials listened to my opinion. I shared about areas in our communities that might be risky for the children and our families when there is a disaster.
“That time was very memorable for me. With my experience, I realised that I am not useless and I can contribute to our barangay,” James says. Together with other children, James is guided and mentored by World Vision staffer.
“James wants to prove to everyone that he is capable. I really find time to know him and found out from him that he is being bullied in school,” says Honey Joy Sampiano, World Vision Child Protection Specialist, who is involve in all child participation activities for children.
After a few times of being part of children activities, James became one of the child leaders who train and facilitate trainings and workshops for his fellow children.
“After a series of trainings and workshops, James slowly came out of his shell. His self-confidence started to improve and later on he realised the importance of participation and that he has a voice just like any other children,” Sampiano says.
“Every time I am invited to facilitate World Vision activities, I always remind myself to respect the ideas and opinions of other children because I do not want them to experience what I felt and experienced. I also share to others my story of being bullied for other children to learn from my experiences.
“That is why I am very thankful to World Vision for giving me the opportunity and for guiding me always. Now slowly, my friends do not bully me anymore. And I wish that the day will come that they will not discriminate me anymore because of being small.
“Even if I am a small child, I have ideas that I can share,” James says.
Now, James is one of the child leaders who facilitate Child Participation Learning Event, a World Vision Learning Event with more than 100 child participants from different provinces. The learning event aims for children to be heard especially on issues that happen and affect them in their communities.
Child-focused Disaster Risk Reduction is a World Vision initiative which takes importance on the participation of children, wherein they can share their voice on the disaster-related issues that concerns them, aside from the involvement of all sectors to build a resilient community, for them to be prepared, mitigate and prevent any forms of disaster. CFDRR is done in all the communities assisted by World Vision.World Vision/March 21, 2017