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Programme to address bullying, low self-esteem launches for children

'Mad about Me' campaign is a personal development, life skills and empowerment campaign for children 4-13 years that targets the development of various life skills, self-confidence, self-esteem, bullying, communication skills, manners, respect, anger management, emotions, cultural differences and social skills.
Statistics show that bullying, lack of respect and low self-esteem are becoming a problem amongst children. "Until a recent survey undertaken at schools, not much was known about the extent and type of bullying in South Africa," comments Michele Smith, founder of the programme.

"A study recently conducted in Gauteng found that around 60% of the 205 children participants reported that they were victimised or bullied during the school year."

In a second study, the University of the Free State surveyed around 330 learners. It was found that only around 30% of them had never been exposed to direct or indirect verbal abuse. As many as 32% claims to have been physically abused by fellow learners. This is an alarming rate of one in every three children being bullied.

Teachers also abused due to lack of respect

In another study on the teachers' experience of bullying, it was found that teachers frequently had to witness bullying and they themselves were often abused by pupils due to lack of respect.

In the short time that 'Mad about Me Campaign' has been on the market, it has received a good response, demonstrating the problem schools are currently facing with bullying and children with low self-esteem, lack of life-skills, respect, manners and confidence.

The first product Mag about Me, a 'do-it-yourself' magazine activity book has already been launched into schools and the second product of the campaign, My Book about Life, will be officially launched at Future-Ed, the education show, from 19-21 July 2012. My Book about Life is a life skills enhancement book for children, to be used as an enhancement to the life skills subject at schools.

Smith founded the programme in January 2012 through her media company, Mad about Media. She is a 26-year-old entrepreneur who, through her passion and initiatives to empower people, was selected as part of the Richard Branson Centre Entrepreneur Programme.

"No child should be terrified to go to school"

"No child should be terrified to go to school due to bullying," said Smith, adding that South Africa has only recently started to realise the impact that bullying and low self-esteem has on its children.

The campaign and its products will be rolled out at schools through fundraising projects, parents support and to underprivileged schools through corporate social responsibility initiatives.

Tracey Webster, CEO of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa says, "The campaign is an example of how we can tackle tough social problems in an entrepreneurial way. It is a privilege to be able to support and guide this budding young entrepreneur, who we believe will make an indelible impact in the lives of our children. This business is a real investment in the future of our country and is aligned to our philosophy of business as a force for good."

"The campaign and its products have been specifically designed to empower children in a fun, interactive way that they understand and can relate to," says Smith.

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