La Paz, November 20, 2022 (ABI).- In Bolivia, four out of ten students suffer bullying, according to data from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Bolivia, an organization that on World Children’s Day called for reflection to stop these events. From the Government, the efforts to guarantee the right to education “free of violence” were highlighted.
World Children’s Day, celebrated every November 20, coincides with the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly.
“In Bolivia, four out of ten students suffer bullying. Of this group, 14% of girls, boys and adolescents say nothing. This is the group of children who suffer in silence and are at risk of depression, suicide, and self-harm. What we see is that 40% of harassment occurs in places where there are no teachers, such as corridors and bathrooms,” reported the head of Education at Unicef Bolivia, Lina Beltrán.
The data was exposed at a public event that took place in the city of La Paz, with the aim of highlighting the importance of eradicating bullying and promoting an environment of peaceful and harmonious coexistence.
Meanwhile, the head of the Gender and Generational Education Unit of the Ministry of Education, Beatriz Chamoso, explained that the Government developed different legal instruments that aim to eliminate bullying and violence.
In addition, he applauded the work of Unicef in Bolivia and highlighted the levels of coordination that exist to carry out projects in favor of Bolivian children.
“This date is an auspicious day to identify our progress in each of the spheres of society in order to guarantee the rights of children and adolescents. The Ministry of Education has made significant progress in guaranteeing access to education for children and adolescents; however, also this access to the right to quality education must be free of violence”, he stated.
Beltrán stressed that violence in schools is a global problem and that due to this factor nearly 150 million students interrupt their school education, and that 720 million boys and girls live in countries where bullying is not sanctioned.
For this reason, Unicef has launched the free Familia Segura line, which provides permanent, confidential and specialized attention, where students and teachers can also go to receive guidance or professional attention, as well as anyone who needs to take care of their mental health.
The UNICEF representative in Bolivia, Rafael Ramírez, asked the population to take a break to reflect and take action for children.
“Caring and seeking help for our mental health should not be a sign of weakness. It is something that happens to all of us, it is a sign of strength that must be recognized and attended to. So, progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go. We have a lot to do in terms of many issues in the country and in the world,” Ramírez highlighted.
Unicef, together with the Government of Bolivia at its different levels, and thanks to the contribution of its allies, promotes programs that promote good treatment, values such as solidarity and respect, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and self-care, it seeks to ensure the application of regulations and their instruments, where teachers and educational authorities are the main actors.
The agency calls on the Bolivian population to achieve a friendly and safe school environment, a builder of peace and well-being, as is being achieved in more than 200 educational units in the country, with the support of the agency and its partners.
Chamoso affirmed that in Bolivia progress was made in the prevention of violence from curricular management in the classroom.
“The incorporation of the curricular contents referred to depatriarchalization, violence prevention, comprehensive sexuality education in the study programs are an advance to avoid violence and school failure”, he highlighted.
Within the framework of the line drawn from the Government, all educational units have the challenge of collectively building their Plans for Peaceful and Harmonious Coexistence and, of course, implementing them.
Also, the Bolivian government has proposed to drastically reduce all types of violence in and around schools through a multi-sectoral approach that encompasses education, protection, health and public safety at the national and local levels.
Testimonials about bullying
Adriana, an influential young woman who recounted how she suffered bullying by her classmates during her school days, also participated in the event.
He provided advice to children, adolescents and young people who suffer any type of violence and encouraged them to report these attacks, to tell their parents or teachers.
“It was something very hard for me and I began to have very negative thoughts. When I was 16 years old, I told it after suffering several years of insults, that is very hard. Now I tell it with a smile because my parents saved me, it is not easy for parents to see their children in this situation. I plucked up the courage and (overcame) all that stage, now I use it so that other children can tell what happens to them and so that they have value, they should not feel less. I touched on the subject of suicide very closely, but I managed to get out of it with the support of my family,” Castillo said.
The singer Luis Gamarra also told his life story. The artist revealed that when he was a child he suffered bullying and that this violence was suffered not only in his educational unit, but also in his home.
“When I was a child, children were not given importance and more and more we realize that children need true voices. Bullying not only happens in your school, but also in your own home. It happened to me in both places. My childhood was too confusing and I clung to music because it gave me acceptance. The music led me to heal a lot,” said Gamarra.
The event for World Children’s Day 2022 was directed by the television presenter and UNICEF National Goodwill Ambassador, Desirée Durán, who also recounted her experience in Cobija where she learned about the program “friendly and safe schools, builders of peace and well-being” and the application of various pedagogical and recreational tools for the prevention of violence in the school environment that is executed by , complying with the guidelines of the Ministry of Education, and with the support of Fundación Educo.