No Label: Fighting Back Against Bullying

No Label is an anti-bullying NGO, it raises awareness on this issue and provides soft skills to enhance self-confidence through interactive learning.

Over just two years, Nour El Assaad, 23, was able to transform an idea into a fully functioning NGO. Having witnessed bullying during her school years and realizing that bullying is widespread in Lebanon, Nour decided to raise awareness and prevention on the issue. Encouraged by the positive interaction she had with people on her Facebook page “No Label Anti Bullying Movement”, El Assaad co-founded an NGO under the same title. “When someone is bullied they are associated with a label like shorty, ugly or whatever. We are here to say that we don’t want labels,” says El Assaad.

The lack of awareness of bullying in Lebanon was not the only reason. The scarcity of information on bullying in the Arabic language on the internet was her other motive. “I wanted it to be a platform founded in the Arab world and addressing Arabs,” says El Assaad.

Bullying, in its four forms: physical, emotional, psychological and cyber bullying, is highly merged with the Lebanese society, according to El Assaad. “I’ve spoken extensively with people and I can say that bullying is widely spread in all its forms across all of communities and all types of schools, public or private,” she affirms.

Reasons of bullying are varied; it starts with parenting especially when parents are too busy to listen to their children. Moreover, reasons of bullying include lack of awareness in the child of how to face a bully by reporting it to his teacher or parents or why he/she should not bully because it is bad behavior. In addition to the lack of skills of the teacher to realize that bullying is happening among a certain group of students in order to stop it.

However, one good thing about the Lebanese kids, as mentioned by El Assaad, is their willingness to speak up when they’re experiencing bullying, no matter how harsh or embarrassing it may seem. “Lebanese kids take up the microphone and talk in front of 180 people about what they’re passing through and in most cases, they tell their parents about it,” says Assad. She adds: “Fortunately, they don’t see bullying as a personal issue”. However, El Assaad believes that the bully is the weak side of the bullying relationship and not the bullied. “Most of the time, the bully is being bullied someplace else and has their confidence at stake for many reasons,” says El Assaad.

“Most of the time, the bully is being bullied someplace else and has their confidence at stake for many reasons”

Everyone at No Label is a volunteer; they are there to entertain kids and give awareness sessions, “therefore we prefer them to be 18 years old to associate more with the kids,” says El Assaad. Today, their work is divided into two main categories: awareness and prevention. “Awareness is giving free session to talk to kids about bullying; prevention is where our services are,” says El Assaad. Prevention at No Label addresses three main audience who are the kids/the students, the parents and the teachers because solving the problem of bullying needs to be a holistic approach,” says El Assaad. In other words, the parents need to be aware of this problem; the teacher’s role is to spot and stop and it’s the children’s role to have a strong personality.

To ensure that children are building a strong personality, No Label provides soft skill trainings to enhance self-confidence, social intelligence and citizenship in kids through interactive learning.

No Label is planning to launch parenting training sessions and certificates for teachers about bullying prevention and will collaborate with more experts and professional trainers. Moreover, No Label will venture into the research field to assess the weight of bullying in Lebanon.

To be closer to the young people and increase their impact, No Label is collaborating with “Lexy”, a local nail polish brand,” in producing specific products that support the NGO. “They produced our own shade of blue,” says El Assaad with a big smile on her face.

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