Projek Assalamualaikum looks to stomp out school bullying in Brunei

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN) - Over 150 Year 7 students of Sayyidina Umar Al-Khattab Secondary School yesterday participated in an anti-bullying school outreach programmed conducted by ‘Projek Assalamualaikum.’

Projek Assalamualaikum is run by six government officers (from different ministries) as part of their community work project under the Young Executive Programme Cohort 3 (YEP – 3). Pengiran Salimatul Sa’ada binti Pengiran Mohd Salleh is leading the project, whose team is made up of Muhammad Wafiuddin bin Haji Wasli, Nur Hamish binti Haji Mohd Nornisiah, Awangku Abdul Rashid bin Pengiran Haji Aliuddin, Awangku Md Nazirul Mubin bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman and Nurul Huda binti Sarbini.

Themed ‘Be a Buddy Not a Bully,’ the progamme looks to cultivate a positive and peaceful culture within schools, with students being taught to be supportive of one another by instilling moral values such as compassion, empathy, kindness, respect and tolerance.

The programme also aims to assist teachers, parents and students in establishing a whole-of-school approach to combat the issue of school bullying by means of developing systematic procedures and a reporting system.

Pengiran Salimatul Sa’ada explained that the derogative behaviour of bullying stems from negative attributes such as intolerance, pride or unresolved anger. Thus, there is a clear need to make people understand the true meaning behind the phrase ‘Assalamualaikum’ (Peace Be Upon You), which carries within it a profound message to care and uplift one another.

“We believe that when young individuals understand this true message, they will become advocates of compassion, positivity and peace to create a safe environment that will subsequently regress the culture of bullying,” she said.

In addressing on the issue, we first need to comprehend the meaning of the term itself, such as misuse of power and repetitive behaviour that causes harm and threaten others. The impact of bullies can not only can be easily seen physically (bruises), but also affects on a long-term, and packs psychological impact (depression and stress).

The programme described the different types of bullying, the impacts of bullying to the victim, and how to become a responsible bystander.

Pengiran Salimatul Sa’ada later presented an As-Salam Box to the school principal. The box served as a platform for students to report cases of bullying to their school authority.

The programme will continue to several schools, including Katok ‘A’ Primary School, Lambak Kanan Jalan 49 Primary School and Awang Semaun Secondary School. The project runs from August 20 to October 13 with the objective of increasing awareness among the school community on the different types of bullying, its impact and how to deal with it.