ROLE MODEL: Nefertari Armarne, 12, is a school councillor
A LAMBETH schoolgirl once picked on by her peers has turned the tables by becoming an anti-bullying ambassador.
Nefertari Armarne, who attends Globe Academy, in Brixton, was at the receiving end of the bullies when she was in Year 7.
But when the bullies shifted their attention to others in her class, Nefertari decided to join the school council to put an end to the taunting.
“I have seen lots of children being bullied and I have been bullied too. I know how it feels and I do not like it,” said Nefertari, now in Year 8.
She said: “I could handle my bullies, but some of the other kids in my class couldn’t so I joined the school council to help them.”
Though Nefertari appears confident, she told The Voice she was once slapped across the face by a tormentor which affected her morale for more than a year.
“One day a girl slapped me at a youth club near my house. The girl had been intimidating every new person who came to the club. She slapped me and ran away so I went home and told my parents.”
Bullying is now taking place beyond the school gates, and on social networking sites. Nefertari has also experienced her fair share of that.
“Some girls were saying that I thought I was too nice and it really hurt me," she said.
“Older boys were intimidating me and trying to get me to go out with them. I was being pressured to join a gang. Some people started sending me cruel messages and pictures on Facebook.”
The youngster was encouraged by her stepfather to join the school council as a platform to shed light on the issue.
“We have to be victors not victims,” said Nefertari’s stepfather, Peter Wekpe, who attended a community conversation organised by The Voice on Saturday.
He added: “Nefertari is quite confident unlike her younger sister who is very gregarious but not so sure of herself. She knows she has her sister and she can always come to me as well. I try and help them both to understand how important it is to stand up for themselves to help create change.”
Part of Nefertari’s role is to listen to her classmates. She then takes their opinion to the teacher. And, as well as tackling bullying, she has also helped improve things in other areas.
“We used to get stale cheese at lunch”, she explained. “We didn’t like it so I made a complaint through the council and I got people to sign a petition which was passed to the head teacher.
Because of that we now have somebody to monitor the food as well.”
A perk of the job came when she got to meet US President Barack Obama and British PM David Cameron when they visited her school – although she was unaware of the significance until later.
She said: “He was just another person with Cameron. I played ping pong with them, but thought nothing of it until I went home and told my dad who made so much fuss.”
Just like most teenagers, Nefertari is unsure of what she wants to be in the future.
She added: “I want to be a chef, but I also want to have my own TV show. I love [comedian] T-Boy and I want to be the female version of what he is doing.”