Bullying effects 60,000 children and young people in Sweden every year.
More than 60 000 children are subjected to bullying in Sweden, which corresponds to 1-2 children in every class. Friends is a children’s rights organization that works against bullying by trainings in schools, preschools and in sports clubs all over the country. Now, a three-year initiative will commence in elementary schools within the catchment area in Hudiksvall, Ljusdal and the Matfors area.
– We are extremely happy that Hälsinglands Sparbank has taken this initiative to sponsor our work. This drive makes it possible for us to support schools in their efforts to create a safe and secure environment for many children, says Fredrika Järnehall, Head of Education at Friends.
All elementary schools in the catchment area of Hälsinglands Sparbank, all in all 35 schools, will be given the offer to participate. The trainings provided by Friends involve both staff, parents and students. In schools that have previously undergone the Friends Program, bullying has decreased by an average of 24 percent after one year of cooperation.
– Hälsinglands Sparbank has chosen to set aside a large part of its profits for social benefit and making our district a better place to live, work and reside in is extremely important to us. No child should ever be subjected to bullying and that’s why we consider it incredibly important to be involved and contribute to prevent bullying as well as combat ongoing bullying. The bank pays the cost and Friends provides sound knowledge, says Anna Karin Edeborg, Head of Marketing at Hälsinglands Sparbank.
Since a few years back, Friends has been working on its’ internationalization which has led to Friends establishing in Denver, USA. Now, a further step has been taken through a partnership with the organization Child Line in Lithuania. In spring 2017, the project will commence in pilot schools in Lithuania. The collaboration is made possible by support from the Lithuanian Ministry of Health.
– Bullying is a global problem and although each country and each school have different challenges and solutions, it is important to work together to develop methods and knowledge. Bullying is five times as common in Lithuania as in Sweden and we are seeing a great demand for our knowledge and experience. Therefore, it feels great that we have now received means to support the fight against bullying and make a difference for children and young people in Lithuania, says Jacob Flärdh, director at Friends International Center Against Bullying.
The agreement concerning the pilot project lasts for two years and begins with the Friends Program being developed and adapted together with the pilot schools to fit the Lithuanian context. Friends will train the first schools, then Child Line will continue to implement the Friends Program in schools with support from Friends.
– We are very happy starting this collaboration with “Friends”. We believe that sharing and adapting wide experience of this organization in prevention of bullying will help us to offer schools new tools and methods how effectively reduce bullying among our children, says the director of “Child Line” dr. Robertas Povilaitis.
Within the cooperation with Child Line, Friends also assisted the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite in developing a stronger Education Act that clearly points out the school’s responsibility to actively work against bullying.
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