The story behind the United Against Bullies campaign
PUBLISHED: 09:05 23 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:05 23 April 2020
Manu Dhaumya from Shinfield is raising awareness of bullying in Berkshire
Coronavirus isn’t the only pandemic we’re facing at the moment. Manu Dhaumya from Shinfield says there is too much bullying taking place in schools: “It’s like an epidemic that’s hard to control.”
Manu set up United Against Bullies a few years ago, after his son came home from primary school and revealed he and his two friends saved a younger child who was getting badly bullied.
Research from the Anti-Bullying Alliance with over 13,000 pupils aged between seven and 15 across 44 schools in the UK found that one in four children reported they were bullied a lot or always.
“There are a few reasons why bullying is on the rise. Social media plays a huge part, as does what children deem ‘cool’ or ‘uncool’. The laws around bullying are also too lax – there are currently no criminal proceedings against bullies. I also feel schools don’t take a tough enough stance,” says Manu.
“Fortunately, my son and I have never been bullied but the stories other parents have told me are unbelievable. I don’t want any child to face discriminatory behaviour. Bullying is one of the worst forms of injustice, which has pushed so many kids, in extreme cases, to take their own life. I want all children to enjoy school life and to be tolerant towards each other.”
Manu, who works for PC World in Reading and lives with his wife, his 12-year-old son and his two-year-old twins, set up United Against Bullies to raise awareness of bullying. “I want all schools to have an anti-bullying policy that helps children who are vulnerable,” says Manu. “And I have had a great response to this cause. Around 10,000 people now follow United Against Bullies on Facebook and Instagram.
“I have organised badminton and football tournaments to help raise awareness, and I sponsor the Shinfield Cricket Club and an under-8s girls’ football team with Shinfield Rangers. I’m also in talks with other clubs as I’d like to organise more charity events later on in the year.”
So what advice does Manu have for those who are being bullied? “The best advice I can give someone who is being bullied is to tell someone who they trust. I want these kids to be able to stand up for themselves and I want the bullies to realise what kind of impact they’re having. I am here if anyone wants to contact me regarding any bullying issues,” he says.
Manu has recently been rewarded for the good work he is doing in the community. He says: “I am delighted to have won a few awards, like the Wokingham Borough Mayor’s Roll of Honour award, the Inspiration Award from Reading Council for my services to Reading, and nominations for a Pride of Reading award. All these help me to highlight this important cause.”