By Archana Patrick
According to statistics from the Malaysian Education Ministry, over 14,000 cases of bullying in schools were reported between 2012 and 2015, with a majority of such cases involving physical bullying.
These figures are further compounded by a report from the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) in 2018 which revealed that an estimated 84 percent of children in Malaysia suffer from some form of bullying – an alarming rate with 33 percent encountering cyber bullying.
We have often read about horrifying news of victims of bullying experiencing severe mental health issues such as depression, low self-esteem which has even lead to suicide.
So, when 10-year-old Umar Wafi Zulkafri, a student of Sekolah Rendah Islam Hira’ in Klang kept receiving complaints from his sister, Iman Hasya, 8, being bullied in school, he gathered his sister and two of his friends, Muhammad Irfan Nazrin Mohd Nizaar, and Muhd Waseem Zainol, both aged 12 years, and invented the Anti-Bully Notification System.
The invention consists of two buttons connected to the teachers’ room and their mobile phones. One button is for verbal bullying and the other for physical bullying. Students who are bullied and even those who witness other students being bullied can press one of the buttons to alert teachers about the location of the incident within school grounds so that further action can be taken.
At present, the device has been placed only in two classes in the school which is connected to the male teachers’ room.
Young Umar Wafi’s invention has won several awards last year such as the Gold Award and Best Performance Award at the 2018 International Stem Olympiad and the Gold Award and Diamond Award at the Smart Selangor Young Innovator for Primary School.
Muhammad Fadhil Mahmud Fakri, the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme coordinator told the News Straits Times, “this year, we plan to expand on his innovation by placing the notification system in all classes and locations where bullying often takes place”.
He added, “we need at least RM1,500 to place it in 40 locations we have identified including the location receivers in four women’s teachers’ room”.
Although other schools are also keen on installing the device to curb bullying incidents, this would only be possible once the device is officially launched and successfully completes a smooth trial run in Sekolah Rendah Islam Hira itself.
Young Umar Wafi hopes to enhance his invention by taking it one step further to include a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera so that clear evidence of bullying incidents can be recorded.
Good job, Umar Wafi!
You truly fought back in a positive way by creating a device to benefit every school student from being victimised by bullies.