From a child suffered from bullying

to the owner of OverDog Magazine advocating for child rights

UNICEF Thailand
A portrait of a young lady wearing a jean shirt with the text "The fight for equal rights should also includ child rights"
UNICEF Thailand

01 November 2019

No child wants to get bullied. They just want the right to express their opinion, to be heard. That’s the opinion of Mimi, a 1st-year university student, project coordinator, and writer who was once bullied by both her teacher and her classmates.

The School wasn’t Listening

Maybe her confidence made her the victim of bullying. “I was an exchange student in the United States and became depressed while I was there. I had to come back to Thailand so my mom could get me treated. I returned to school even when I wasn’t ready, and I knew I would get bullied for what I have. I’ve always liked to share my opinions and the teachers never liked it. It might be because I already had quite a reputation at school, so when nobody knew the reason why I came back they started all kinds of rumors. They said maybe I had a relationship issue with guys, or I got into trouble with the host family, etc. I was already depressed, and then I got bullied. It makes things even worse. Teachers and students talked behind my back. Those words are hurtful and coming from teachers, everyone believed whatever rumors about me. I felt so much pressure that I couldn’t go to school. I cried in class. I couldn’t focus. There was no teacher to ask for guidance. So, I decided I wouldn’t listen to my mom and locked myself in my room.

 My depression got worse because my mom kept talking about school. I began to feel worthless when people said I was worthless. Until I discovered a contest to make a magazine as a tool for social change. I was very interested. I love reading magazines, and I thought why didn’t I do something when I was being bullied? Why do I have to let them do that to me? I felt I must do something, so I entered the contest. In the end, I was selected and got 10,000 baht seed fund to kick-start the project.

 

‘Overdog’ – My Creation for Other Bullied Kids

She found her place by doing what she loves and that’s how ‘Overdog’ magazine and Facebook Page came about. “I was bullied by my teacher and I don’t want anyone to go through that experience. I almost used the name ‘Underdog’ but ‘under’ sounds like a loser, so I picked ‘Overdog’. At least the name suggests we are winning. The 2nd issue is still in progress. The awareness I’m raising is to ‘stop bullying’ but I’m also interested in other children-related issues such as reaching out to kids who run away from home, or abused kids, or any instances of unfair treatment towards students or kids. As I gain more experience, I am expanding the scope of my work further.

 

When Family Don’t Understand, You Take A Stand

Her family was against her project and her choice. They thought she was rebelling against society. Sometimes the best way out was to walk out, said Mimi. “When I started working on the magazine, I had to fly around the country, go to meetings and seminars. One time, my mom and dad picked me up at the airport and sent me straight to the psychiatric ward. I was there for 10 days and I told myself I must get out of here. When I was finally discharged from the hospital, I ran away and began living on my own, where I study and work until this day. After that, things got better. I start contacting my mom now. We talked and I updated her about my life. My parents are mostly worried about my safety.

 

Hopes on Child Rights Being Accepted in Thailand

“For those who disagree, they will think I’m just a bad student rebelling against the teachers. But those who agree will see this needs to happen. I want to advocate for equal rights and opportunities as well as for society to be more open for kids’ participation. Some kids will think, ‘This will be over soon. We will finish high school soon’. They don’t want to do it because they are alone and afraid, but we, in fact, can take action standing up for our rights. At least, we don’t have let teachers hit us. I believe that the bad things that happened to me should be gone from this world already. 

I had little idea about child rights until I began working on the magazine. I found out a lot of information on child rights and those who work to safeguard them. We have the right to be protected. I want kids to act when they’re mistreated, act out in any way to say this is not okay. We can take action and do something about it.