WATCH: ‘It’s wrong to discriminate children like me’


Did you experience being a girl scout or a boy scout as a child?

This 12-year-old from Maguindanao is a certified girl scout, who says she’s “always ready and on the go.”

Saada is graduating from 6th grade this summer. (WATCH: Girl sings song of hope for children of Maguindanao)

Before she leaves her beloved elementary school, she hopes that its students can finally have a beautiful stage. “We’ll use it to hold competitions,” Saada excitedly said in Filipino. “And to ramp, to walk or ramp on stage.”

“We’ll also hold battle of wits there, quiz bees,” the young girl scout added.

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No to discrimination

At school, Saada tries her best to set a good example for younger students.

She tells fellow children to stop bullying others based on physical appearances, class, religion, or any other factors.

Globally, nearly 130 million students ages 13 to 15 experience bullying, according to UNICEF data.

In the Philippines, bullying is also a problem experienced in many schools.

In the school year 2015-2016 alone, local media reported that there were “11,448 incidents of bullying,” as documented by the Department of Education.

This is despite the Philippines having an Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 (RA 10627), and the DepEd enforcing “zero tolerance policy” against all forms of bullying and discrimination in schools. Schools are also ordered to create Child Protection Committees.

“It’s wrong to discriminate because it hurts the person’s feelings when you call them names,” explained Saada. “For example, it’s wrong to tease children just because of their curly hair, their missing teeth, or their disability.”

“There’s no difference between rich and poor,” she continued.

Bullying affects not only children’s physical well-being, but also their studies, self-esteem, emotional and mental health.

Saada’s school is part of our Spaces for Peace Project, which ensures that children living in areas affected by armed conflict can go about their lives normally.

We also teach them about their rights, as well as their responsibilities.

These children should be able to freely learn, dream, and play.

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Student athlete

Aside from being part of her school’s girl scouts, Saada is also an athlete.

She joins inter-school sports events, playing volleyball. The sport has helped Saada become more self-disciplined, as well as more sociable.

“The other athletes befriended me,” said Saada. “I was happy because I was able to meet new friends.”

She plans to continue playing volleyball in high school.

Someday, she hopes of becoming a teacher, “so that I can teach those who are in need of discipline.”

All children deserve a happy and peaceful childhood. Empower and protect children living in areas affected by armed conflict. 

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