March 6: National Day Against School Violence and Bullying
Athens, 5 March 2021
March 6: National Day Against School Violence and Bullying
More than 8,000 students and 400 schools across Greece participated in the
#milatora2021 Awareness Campaign that "The Smile of the Child" carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs
Children from every corner of Greece joined their voices and sent their powerful messages against the scourge of Bullying. Due to the rather increased participation compared to previous years, the deadline for Schools and students to submit their message got extended until 13 March 2021.
With the support of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and on the occasion of 6 March, National Day against School Violence and Bullying, the “YouSmile” European Voluntary School Network of the Organization “The Smile of the Child" held an online event as part of the campaign #milatora2021, on Friday 5 March 2021.
Students, as well as members of the "Children’s Rights Group" of “YouSmile”, were the protagonists of the event. They spoke about the phenomenon, highlighting the critical issue of Cyberbullying, which increases rapidly threatening the mental and physical health of children.
During the event, the following topics were presented;
● Proposals for the prevention and treatment of the phenomenon by the Children’s Rights Group of the European Voluntary School Network “YouSmile”
● Projects produced by students from schools nationwide, as part of their participation in the #milatora2021 campaign
● Video on Cyberbullying, prepared by the members of “Yousmile”. This spot triggered many children to reach their inner strength to to reach out for help and reveal true stories of bullying by contacting the National Helpline SOS 1056, CHAT1056 and the social media of the Organization.
The Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Ms. Niki Kerameos, among other issues stressed; "Today's online event is an occasion to raise our voices and express our rejection to school violence and bullying. We have taken actions to ensure that no child feels alone, defenceless, exposed. In this spirit, we conduct awareness campaigns in cooperation with organizations, individuals, Ministries, with our valuable partner, "The Smile of the Child", and other organizations. The protection of minors from the risks of Internet usage is emerging as a critical issue, now more than ever, that distant learning has turned to become our new reality. I would like to warmly congratulate all stakeholders for your initiatives and actions, for raising awareness on the issue of School Violence, against Bullying and Cyberbullying. The message we need to convey today is that children should speak up! It is your right; Now is the time to speak up! No child should feel alone."
The event was attended by the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Ms. Zetta Makri, who referred to March 6th, as an occasion both for reflection and taking action as well. Referring to the phenomenon of Cyberbullying, she stressed: "Cyberbullying is on the rise in our country, as well as internationally. To address and limit it, requires continuous monitoring and analysis of the causes that create it. The cooperation of specialists, teachers, parents, and students, as well as the establishment of a legislative framework that responds to the rapidly changing conditions, are crucial factors for a successful approach. It is essential to teach children how to navigate online safely and responsibly to protect themselves from any negative effects, rather than banning internet.”
The Deputy Minister for Sports in the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Mr. Lefteris Avgenakis, extended greetings and stated, "Bullying is a morbid phenomenon that spreads and takes alarming proportions. It should not be considered an issue that only the educational community should deal with, it has become a social problem. It is directly linked to racism as expressed against all kinds of inequalities, to the normalization of violence, but also to the rhetoric of hate. Harassment and abuse, especially of minors, have become of extreme importance in the field of Sports as well." Mr. Avgenakis further mentioned the initiatives undertaken by the Ministry at a national and European level, while he made a special reference to the Cooperation Agreement signed with "The Smile of the Child".
The President of the Organization "The Smile of The Child" and President of the European anti-Bullying Network, (EAN-European Antibullying Network) Costas Yannopoulos, stated; "We are particularly proud because despite the difficult conditions of the pandemic, thousands of students from every corner of Greece responded to the invitation of ΥουSmilers to condemn Bullying and unite their voices to protect suffering children. We would like to thank the Ministry of Education that gives us the opportunity to contribute to the fight against school violence and bullying by exploiting our extensive knowledge and our deep experience with children. In our daily struggle for the protection of children's rights, we have added new services to the existing tools and activities of our Organization. We have launched the "Smile Academy" for the empowerment of children and enhancement of their skills, with the ultimate goal of promoting their well-being in all aspects of their lives".
The Psychologist and Coordinator of the National Center for Disappearances and Children Victims of Exploitation of the Organization, Mr. Stefanos Alevizos, focused on the values and mutual respect as prevention factors, underlining that "The Smile of the Child" firmly stands next to every child, every parent, guardian, and educator through the National Helpline SOS 1056 and prevention programs implemented in the educational community.
"The Smile of the Child" which also holds the presidency of the EAN-European Anti-Bullying Network, along with "YouSmile", the European Voluntary Network of Students of the Organization has launched the #milatora campaign, which is approved by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and focuses on the phenomenon of school bullying. Moreover, the #milatora Campaign (“Speak up now” Campaign) is part of the Organization's “Become a Volunteer - Defend your Rights" educational program, which is also approved by the Institute for Educational Policy.
It is worth noting that more than 22.000 students from 800 primary and secondary schools nationwide have actively participated in the #milatora campaign since 2013.
On the occasion of the recent release of the commemorative stamp series dedicated to the fight against bullying, the Hellenic Post in collaboration with "The Smile of the Child" distributed to all primary and secondary schools posters depicting the intense message "Stop Bullying". The initiative is under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.
For more information please contact;
"The Smile of the Child»
Tel 0030 210 3306140