Submitted by:  Maiveen Boehme

We all know the dangers of bullying, and how badly it can affect the victims.  But how often do we consider that the bullies themselves may be the wounded one who, in turn, is lashing out at others?  Brave Heart is a project which intends to stop bullying, and reaches out to everyone caught in the painful and damaging cycle of bullying, whether it be at schools or in the workplace.

Taking a very negative topic and addressing it with love, hope, empathy, and understanding . . . for all involved

Brave Heart is a registered NPC and it was started when it’s founder, Maiveen Boehme, recognised that South Africa needed a more comprehensive approach to address this huge social problem. 

What makes Brave Heart different from other initiatives is that they take this very negative topic and address it in a positive way with love, hope, empathy, and understanding for all parties involved. 

Project Brave Heart has an amazing roadshow, but they are so much more than that.  They have an extensive programme to support schools and workplaces, and show them how to address bullying. They combine with the community, other NGOs, and professionals to provide an extensive network to address this problem and make life easier for all.  The programme is available in English and Afrikaans, and soon it will be available in other languages. 

There is a comprehensive online course written by a team of professionals which gives teachers, parents, and people in the workplace the tools to handle all complaints, from verbal bullying to rape and sexual harassment. 

Additionally, they recently released their Sport Coaches Course because sport is sometimes the only place where a child or adult can feel safe and free. The course guides the coach to make sure bullying problems can be identified among the players and teams, and it helps the coach avoid any actions that might be perceived as bullying. 

Project Brave Heart is not only for the learners and their parents, it is also for the teachers and principals who are harassed or bullied by learners, parents, or other colleagues, and the workplace bullying programme will be released in the near future.  

They have created a massive movement with the public and have called it the #BRAVECommunity.

The long-term mission is that we should all look at one another differently – “I see you and I accept you for who you are.”

Their icon item is the red heart pin.  They are very striking, and worn by young and old.  When you wear these pins, it means that you stand up for yourself, you help others who are bullied, and you even help the bully – because if the bully does not receive help, then this cruelty will never end.  

The aim is that all South Africans will keep some of these badges in their cars, and will hand them out to people to spread the word that bullying must be stopped at all costs. 

Imagine a community of love, and of giving one another hope again.  All wearing red hearts and looking out for one another…

Their slogan is ‘Where the heart is free to change.’ 

This is a new, safe platform for all people to come and address their hurt, and for all parties to change.  The victim forgives the bully, and the bully changes his or her ways with professional help. 

We should strive to respect everyone for their differences, and not judge them, because in this way we can gain respect ourselves.

The first “Non Bullying Day” was on 03 May 2019, and Brave Heart asked the public to wear red for love and blue for forgiveness on that day.  The next event is scheduled to take place on 01 May this year.

You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram under Project Brave Heart and visit their website.

Edited by:  Patricia Becker Stapleton

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