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SOIPHET NUNG SIRISOT_

Anti-Bullying Programme Ambassador

“The Anti-Bullying Ambassador Training Has Brought Out My True Colours”

Meet our Anti-Bullying Ambassador Nung from Christleton High in Cheshire. She is one of our over 35,000 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors who participated in The Diana Award Anti-Bullying training.

In here, she tells us more about her personal experience with bullying and shares impressions and learnings from her Anti-Bullying training. Nung believes that standing up to bullying is key to promote a happy and inclusive environment at school – and she aims is to inspire her peers to join her on this mission.

Nung’s Story of Bullying

Nung came to England in 2012 after arriving here together with her family from Thailand.

Settling down in a new country held many challenges for Nung: aside from not speaking the language, she also faced difficulty settling into a new school environment, which meant getting used to a whole new culture surrounded by lots of unfamiliar faces.

Nung remembers her first days at Hoole Church of England Primary, her new school in Chester:

“Coming into my new classroom I remember thinking to myself ‘Wooooo! What is this? I have never seen so many strangers in one room before and especially so many people with a different skin colour in one place.”

Despite the many challenges getting used to this new culture combined with living in a new country, Nung made every effort to learn the new language quickly and to make new friends at school. As if settling into a completely new and unfamiliar environment wasn’t challenging enough, Nung started to experience some hostility from her peers soon after she arrived in England:

“At the start, I was bullied by people from my own ethnicity, because they apparently thought I was the dumb one out of all the Thai people that were already in the UK. They sort of thought that they and their children were all smarter than me because they all received English tutoring before they arrived here, and they made it very clear that they thought I wasn’t going to get anywhere. I really struggled when I came here because of my English and I am quite a slow processor at times. So that was kind of when it all started.”

Nung felt that due to her appearance people started making hurtful comments:

“When I first came to England, my skin colour used to be a lot darker, which I think bothered people. Also, some people laughed at my name and said things like ‘What kind of a name is that? I’ve never heard that before!’, which some of them still do now.”

Things then got a lot worse when some turned to social media to continue their bullying behaviour towards Nung:

“Students from other schools tried to call my phone constantly; I don’t even know from where they got my number, but they were prank calling – making nasty comments, targeting my ethnicity, the colour of my skin – those kinds of things. I really felt they took advantage of me being a very compassionate person and that was really hurtful.”

Understandably as things progressed, Nung started to feel more and more upset about the situation:

“What impacted me the most was the frequent phone calls, the nasty messages and the fact that so many of my peers would rather be bystanders than upstanders. No one really had the courage to say anything or help me in some way. It’s something that I personally had never experienced before, and it made me realise how cruel the world can be sometimes. It really disappointed me that people changed their opinion about me when they found out that I am not white, which gave me the feeling that I didn’t live up to their ‘high’ expectations.”

With lots of help from the school and the police, the situation could be resolved and Nung realised that standing up to bullying can make a real difference. Although given the opportunity to report the bully, Nung decided otherwise and – remembering to always be kind – she felt the bully deserved another chance without being penalised:

“During that time, my father suddenly passed away and all I could think of was ‘What would he have done in a situation like this?’. I am pretty sure, the advice he would have given me would have been to always be kind, no matter how painful things are. Being kind is priceless and people deserve second chances. Without a doubt, his wisdom will always go with me. I would like people to always remember that words sometimes cannot be taken back so remember to be kind”.

Nung’s school – Christleton High School – joined the Diana Award Anti-Bullying Programme in an effort to adhere to their ethos of ‘The 5’Cs’ – a commitment to ambitious standards, through a caring, creative, collaborative and cheerful environment

Nung became an Anti-Bullying Ambassador on November 7, 2019.

Becoming a Diana Award Anti-Bullying Ambassador

In 2019, Nung was trained as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador facilitated by the Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying trainers.

The Anti-Bullying Campaign helps young people, parents and teachers to change the attitudes, behaviour and culture of bullying by building skills and confidence to address bullying situations – both offline and online.

The training equips students with knowledge to become Anti-Bullying Ambassadors and help to reduce bullying behaviour in their schools and communities.

Following the training, students will take on the role of Anti-Bullying Ambassadors and help educate their peers on bullying behaviour, lead on anti-bullying campaigns and promote a culture that celebrates and tolerates difference.

Nung became an Anti-Bullying Ambassador on November 7, 2019; her favourite part of the training were her two trainers who have made a lasting impression on her:

“I just loved our two trainers – Thea and Charlton! They were so crazy in their own unique ways and they literally didn’t care about what others might think of them. I found this really liberating. They were shouting enthusiastically, dancing and singing and empowering us to make a change and build a kinder community at school. These two trainers were a key part of my journey and they truly helped me to discover my hidden strength and to just be confident in who I am. Everybody was saying so many wonderful things about me, which gave me the feeling that I was totally accepted. That had a massive impact on me from that day onward. I also really liked how inclusive the training was; I remember a boy with severe autism asking if he could sit next to me during the training and if I could help him follow along. This experience – to be able to help someone become an experienced Anti-Bullying ambassador – was really powerful.”

Nung and her classmates decided to work towards earning the Wellbeing Badge to support classmates to stand up to bullying:

“We choose the Wellbeing Badge because we thought that that was what everyone really needed at the time. We noticed that there was so much naughtiness and banter going on then and it got to some people really badly. Our work on the Wellbeing Badge gave us a framework to tackle that straight away. I felt that it was my duty to tackle bullying cases at our school and I decided to take the lead in getting a team together to promote the knowledge we got in our Diana Award training.”

ANTI-BULLYING BADGES

At the Diana Award we offer trained Anti-Bullying Ambassadors ongoing support for their anti-bullying campaigns. Our Aftercare team supports Ambassadors following the training to continue tackling bullying behaviour in their schools and communities. The badge system is a key component to achieve that. Students can expand their anti-bullying knowledge in four key areas: Respect, Online Safety, Wellbeing and Community Action.

RESPECT

Any campaigns or initiatives that are tackling bullying behaviour, championing diversity & inclusion or promoting equal rights for any of the nine protected characteristics.

ONLINE_SAFETY

Any campaigns or workshops that promote how to stay safe online such as educating others in online safety, digital resilience workshops, assemblies, or social media campaigns.

WELLBEING

Any campaigns or initiatives that encourage positive wellbeing such as peer mentoring, mental health awareness, support groups, online support tools, safe spaces in school.

COMMUNITY_ACTION

Any campaigns or events that build community such as fundraising events, raising awareness for a specific community group, working with local government or the Police.

The Legacy of being an Anti-Bullying Ambassador

Becoming an Anti-Bullying Ambassador has just been the beginning of Nung’s ambition to inspire her peers. This passion has been strengthened by her newfound confidence as an ambassador:

“Participating in the Anti-Bullying programme has helped me to bring out my true colours. I didn’t know that I had the ability in me to help so many young people. I haven’t looked back since becoming an Ambassador, because it’s all been so positive. I have found a strength in me that I didn’t know I had before. Princess Diana once said, ‘Anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be, doing what I can’ and I can truly say that I live by this quote. I am determined to continue using my voice, offering support to everyone and to be a true upstander to bullying.”

Nung has recently been appointed a student lead coordinator for wellbeing and anti-bullying at her school alongside her current role as Chair of the School Council and E-safety spokesperson:

“My ambition is to achieve all four badges before I leave school. I hope that we can raise more awareness about bullying, especially about the verbal and emotional side of it, because that’s what we are seeing increasingly.”

Now working to obtain the respect badge, Nung and her classmates aim to equally emphasise work around topics such as LGBTQ+ and the Black Lives Matter movement:

“With everything that has been going on since the first lockdown and especially with what happened with George Floyd, we as a school are now focussing our work not only on preventing bullying but advocating for the Black Lives Matter campaign as well. I am proud to be at the centre of making our school more diverse than ever and follow our ethos to create a more inclusive place.”

As a token of her commitment, Nung always keeps her badges with her, including the Diana Award Anti-Bullying support card. This card contains contact info for The Diana Award Crisis Messenger – a helpline to offer instant support in the case of witnessing or experiencing bullying behaviour:

“I’ve always got my badges on me, because when I look at them it always motivates me to continue inspiring others at school. Having the number of the helpline handy is super useful, because if for whatever reason I can’t get a fast response from the teachers I can call this number to provide fast support for a child in need.”

Nung now uses the knowledge gained from her Anti-Bullying training to help her peers.

Being a part of the Diana Award Family

Nung continuously uses the knowledge gained from her Anti-Bullying training – not only as an anti-bullying coordinator at school, but also in her spare time as a young leader for Beavers and Cubs for which she has recently been awarded the Young Leader scouting qualification:

“The knowledge I have gained helps me to stand up to people when I see something going wrong; I now have the confidence to be an upstander rather than a bystander, even when it means confronting grown-ups. I think this is really important, because no matter who they are, I simply don’t want someone else to go through what I have gone through. My experiences have helped me to not take things for granted and I always want to give to those in need.”

Supporting others in becoming the best version of themselves has also inspired Nung’s career ambitions: In the future, Nung aims to pursue a PhD and work as an educational psychologist to help vulnerable children:

“I think you guys at the Diana Award have helped me beyond what I would have imagined. You’ve helped me, inspired me, shaped me, and strengthened me in who I am. Participating in the Anti-Bullying programme has helped me to bring out my true colours. I didn’t know that I had the ability in me to help so many young people. Helping others is an honour and it is undoubtedly one of the greatest feelings – knowing how much of an impact I have made in somebody’s life or day. So, I hope to continue working with the Diana Award and continue to be a part of this amazing family to keep the legacy of Diana alive.”

We are proud to count Nung among our Anti-Bullying Ambassadors. It is students like her who we count on to enable young people all over the country to stand up to bullying and create a kind and inspiring environment at school and at home.

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