Funky girl method of encouraging girls to embrace their girly side will soon be on offer in a small town in New Zealand.
The town, in Waimate, is currently celebrating its 100th birthday, but the number one target of bullying is the shy little girl.
“It’s a big challenge,” said the local Waimatara Girl Association member, Sarah.
“Girls are shy and I think they get a bit nervous.”
Sarah is not alone.
More than two-thirds of girls and young women in Withers Bay are bullied at least once a week.
While the number of bullying incidents has decreased significantly in recent years, the local community still has a lot to learn from each other.
For Sarah, the problem has nothing to do with the girls.
She said: “It’s the bullying of the shy girls.
It’s really a big problem.”
“We just want to give them a voice.”
Sarah, who is originally from Wairarapa, says the local Girl Picture of Squirrel Girl method is a big step towards reducing the number and severity of bullying in Wawni.
The method is based on the idea that when girls are inspired to embrace girly interests and behaviours, their peers will feel better about them.
Sarah said: “There are lots of ways of doing it, but I think it’s the one I like the most.”
Wawni is a small, remote community with only a handful of schools, but its success with the Girl Picture method has resulted in a local school setting being used as a model for other communities in New England.
Local schools and other community organisations have been able to tap into a local network of girls who are willing to take the time to get involved.
Waimate’s Girls Picture of squirrel Girl method will be a local version of the Girl Guide for Girls, a local book published by the Girls Picture Group in New Hampshire.
It will be similar to the Girl Guides used in other parts of New England, but Sarah said the new method would also encourage girls to come to Wawnitara to get help.
In Wawnigas main town, the girls are encouraged to visit local shops and cafes and to be a part of the community.
One girl who works at the local cafe said: I think the best thing is that the Girl Scouts have done a great job of promoting the Girl pictures.
As long as we have the Girl picture, we can do things like take part in local events like the annual Halloween parade, and I feel like the community has helped make that possible.
If you or anyone you know needs help with bullying, call the Wawnie Girl Association on 1800 757 675 or email [email protected]