From the Girl Whose Face is Not Looking Good


This month at WOW we engaged with the parents and schools on the topic of bullying. We spoke to teachers and trained them on how to handle issues of bullying on campus. Our communications and design teams created posters that schools can use to educate students on appropriate behaviour and promote zero tolerance towards bullying. This is an essential topic to discuss in every campus.

When we talk about bullying on campuses, we usually associate the issue with bullying that happens among students. But we need to begin to recognize the fact thatsometimes the bully could be the teacher.

Bullying.coverpicWhen a teacher has unrealistic expectations from a student and resorts to name-calling or when a teacher displays bias towards a certain student and is unreasonable, the victims of bullying are the students who feel overpowered and helpless. Verbal abuse by teachers leave deep scars on young minds. In the name of discipline, a teacher can easily cross the line without intending to. Here is a painful story we received from a student who feels such intense pain and is trying to understand how someone who is supposed to be building her up is actually tearing her apart. We urge you to use this platform to start discussions on bullying at various levels – on campuses, at work, and even at home.

– Kavitha Emmanuel

From the Girl Whose Face is Not Looking Good 

Yesterday was a good day: I made it to class on time and I was responsive during class. I had put in a lot of effort to study and prepare for the class and I could see it pay off. My day could not have started better. I am a learner, a true geek at heart. I pay attention, I make notes, I love to listen to interesting lectures. The classroom is my playground.

The professors and teachers have a heart to impart knowledge and see us succeed. I like when they speak on topics like personality development and improving life skills like healthy social conduct or professional ethics. I believe that they are the farmers who cultivate our minds to be the leaders of tomorrow.

As a responsible and proactive student, raised and taught by the sharp minds of our faculty, I approached my class mentor and teacher about final exam dates. Her response as she looked into my zit ridden face made me question everything I had come to love about college. Instead of the dates, I was told: Stop concentrating on your exams and first clear your skin. You can write many exams but for now you concentrate on your skin. It’s not at all looking good. It’s not good at all.

I am a determined young woman who does not let my acne bother me. I’ve lived with it since fifth standard and it’s a part of me – the confident, beautiful, and talented me. Acne has never stopped me from doing what I want to do. So, I pushed onwards and respectfully told my teacher that my acne does not bother me, but exams do and that I’d like to know the dates. As the conversation continued to transpire with a large audience in the lobby, my teacher did not hesitate to verbalize her emotions and opinions: But we have to look at you and it’s not at all good. A few of my classmates who stood nearby piped in to support the teacher’s opinion that I lack the interest to care for my skin.


recite-1g9qyv1Much has been talked about bullying on campuses and more has been discussed about the recent suicide of the 9th standard boy who was a victim of bullying. I see the actions of my teacher as demeaning, reckless and careless, providing backing and support to those who might use it to bully. It might not have sounded as mockery, but it had the same effect.

As a mentor who needs to lead and build trust, she failed and I do not want to have another conversation with her. I have lost all ability to muster up any respect for her.

Dear Ms. D, how can I learn anything from someone who lost face with her student?


The girl whose face remains beautifully confident!

Off to School!

By Kavitha Emmanuel

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn around. 
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Touch the ground.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Polish the shoes.
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Off to school.

Here’s a cute rhyme we teach kids to motivate them to go to school. But our children aren’t teddy bears in the first place and they need more than just ‘shoes’ to go to school.

As parents, let’s make sure that our kids are well-prepared to face the next year in school.

Schools Safety Blog Post-02I want to urge parents everywhere to not just look out for your child’s academic performance but also for their physical safety and emotional well-being as well. This will go a long way in grooming your child to be the best that they can be.

Parents have talked to me about their child being bullied in school for their skin colour. Children hurt within when they see their ‘fairer’ siblings or friends get more attention and are chosen for school performances. One parent recalled how no one wanted to sit next to her child in school because she was dark. I have spoken to grown-ups who have shared how this bias forced them to retreat into a shell or has affected their sense of self-esteem.

Our child needs our attention towards their emotional needs. Let’s not ignore them. Let’s not forget to speak words of affirmation and love every day!   If there is any clear instance of skin colour bias in the child’s school please do address it with their teacher and school authorities.

Another area we need to watch out for is the child’s physical safety at school. Talk to your child about safety. Don’t simply give out instructions like: ‘don’t go there!’ or ‘don’t talk to strangers.’ Spend time talking with them about why those instructions are important. This can be done without instilling fear into the child but for the purpose of inculcating good sense and understanding. There are numerous resources and counseling material available to aid parents with these tough conversations.

Schools Safety Blog Post-01

Please remember that most often physical abuse happens in known surroundings with known people. The abuser often wins the trust of the child and the family. Don’t ignore a child’s comments like: ’the driver gave me a chocolate and only me’ or ‘I don’t like the way my teacher hugs me’ or even ‘don’t ask uncle to pick me up. I don’t like waiting at their place till you come home’. Let us listen, observe, and see if the child is trying to communicate something beyond those words. Watch out for changes in behavior and emotional outbursts!

Learning to listen to our children’s emotional needs is as important as meeting their physical needs. We live in a more complicated world than we were used to as children. Children have increased access to media with a growing need to discern these media messages every day. We live busier lives today which may lead to missing our children’s warning signals. Let’s cultivate the habit of spending quality time with our children. Set aside a few minutes every day where each child gets undivided attention and support to say what they want without fear of rejection. Let them feel listened to. Let them know that they can come to us when they are in trouble or when they are feeling blue. Our children need to learn to handle LIFE and not just focus on grades.

Join our campaigns and stay aware!


About The Author

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Kavitha Emmanuel is the Founder and Director of Women of Worth. Since 2009 she has been changing mindsets nationally and globally to end skin colour bias with the Dark is Beautiful campaign. In 2013 she began advocating safety for women and children through the Girl Arise campaign. Ms. Emmanuel has also initiated the Safe Schools Project that equips schools to proactively engage in creating safe campuses for their students.

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