Wednesday, January 02, 2019

I interrupted the assembly as a teacher held a scissors to cut the hair of a girl because she wore a hairstyle that contradicted the rule. The crowd of about 200 students bullied her while the other teachers watched.

The girl was at fault. Her overall appearance did not comply with the laid down rules. But as she was told to walk up to the front of the assembly ground, her eyes were red with tears flowing, which she hurriedly dried up. I knew she was embarrassed. For me, this was enough punishment.

I waited patiently since I had to address the entire students, as part of my School Empowerment/Book donation project. The timing was not right for me 'cos the humiliating act of cutting the girl's hair was to be done before I would speak.

The teacher who held the scissors insisted that it was part of the school rules. I placed my hands on her shoulder in front of everyone and said:
"Put the blame on me. You may do it later but not before I speak."

I was so certain that the shame, low self-esteem and the effect of that action would make her not to hear anything I had to say. Since I insisted, the Principal and teacher had to give in.

This became the platform on which the talk began. For God's sake, I would also talk about my book UNCLOG THE CLOG to the students, with emphasis on how I overcame low self-esteem. I could not stand watching it happen.

The first few words I said when I began was:
"I used to be like her when I was a teenager. I was a stubborn ..........".

This caught the attention of everyone as they listened to my talk. When I was done, I made the girl promise before the whole school that she would comply with the rules over the weekend and resume on Monday looking presentable.

The teachers were not left out as I made them realise that their attitude and use of words over the students should be done with care. 

The counselling sessions I have had with some teenagers and young adults reveals that their struggle with low self-esteem began when they were disgraced before their classmates.

Ten (10) copies of "UNCLOG THE CLOG: My adventure to find me" was donated to the school library of Government Day Secondary School, Sabo.

Autographing UNCLOG THE CLOG for the school library

To meet up the assembly, I had to be at the school by 7:30 am. Thanks to my team member Uche Oliver.

The project of distributing copies of UNCLOG THE CLOG to the school libraries will continue in the course of our Student Empowerment program for 2019. Support the project on >>>  DONATE NOW

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Grace A. John-Ugwuanya is a human development strategist, public speaker, an author and Biomedical Researcher. She helps individuals breakout beyond certificates and become a better version of themselves. She is also the director of Amara's Hub Concepts, an event management, content writing and capacity building service provider.

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