Written By Neyzielle Ronnicque Cadiz, Writer, Operation Blessing Philippines
The prevalence of bullying in public and even private schools in our country is an alarming issue that we should not take for granted. Bullying has been a widespread problem and perhaps the main reason students lack asense of security.
Operation Blessing, in constant pursuit of providing educational assistance to the underprivileged, is strongly against the negative consequences of this distressing torment. For one, some of our beneficiaries are not spared from this.
Take Joshabel P. Zabala, 17 years old, who wasa premature baby. She has mild celebral palsy and spastic right muscles (a muscle control disorder) on her right foot, and needs to undergo therapy three times a week. Because of her condition, she was bullied.
Joshabel shares her insights on How Not to Succumb to Bullying:
1.BUILD RAPPORT WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES
“Mababa self-esteem ko. Dati, hindi mo ako mapapatayo sa harapan pero ang galing po ni Lord, ginamit niya ang mga kaibigan at classmates ko para ma-build ulit ang confidence ko. (I had low self-esteem. Back then, you could not force me to stand infront, but God is good. He used my classmates and friends to help build my confidence again.)”
2. SHARE [YOUR BURDENS] TO YOUR PARENTS
Combatting bullying requiresintensive effort on the part of the school administration and the parents as well. Joshabel did not keep the bullying a secret from her mother, and being the supportive and protective parent, Belinda called the attention of the school administration and the bullying somehow lessened.
3. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED TO CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION
Bullying involves “teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting, and stealing that are initiated by one or more students against a victim.” These acts trigger hatred and depression, and are deterrents towards attending classes, but for Joshabel, this should not be the case. Do not waste the opportunity to study. Fight the depression; you will eventually come out strong.
4. TURN TO GOD AND STAY STRONG
“God is always there for us. He has miraculous control over our life. Draw strength from Him when you pray. Tell Him how you feel when you are being bullied and He will make you strong, so stay strong,” she said.
ABOUT THE BENEFICIARY
The therapy is very costly for Joshabel’s mother, Belinda (46), who is raising her alone. Belinda is a part-time dealer of products of a beauty company and accepts laundry from her neighbors, but not on a regular basis. She has been a single mother for nine years after her husband left them. Her income is not enough to support their everyday expenses.
In fact, when Joshabel was in high school, she had to borrow her neighbor’s uniform because she was not allowed to enter the school premises if she was not in proper attire. That was before Operation Blessing received the letter from her mother requesting for educational assistance.
“Without the benefits from Operation Blessing, I don’t know if I could support my daughter’s educational needs,” Belinda proudly stated.
The assistance started when Joshabel was in first year high school. Joshabel has just graduated high school and is now going to take up Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina, still with the grant from the Back-to-School program of OB.
HELP US COMBAT BULLYING!
Her sense of self-esteem might be threatened and even damaged, making her more likely to give up on life, but Joshabel remained strong and turned the negative consequences of bullying into positivity.
As classes open this month, we would like to encourage everyone, particularly school administrators and parents to spend time with the young ones, ask them about their day at school, and gently remind them of their worth—that they are loved and you will always be there for them no matter what.