The following a guest post by youth kindness and anti-bullying advocate, Simrat Heer. 

My name is Simrat Heer, I am 17 years old, and I am a survivor of bullying and an anti-bullying activist. I was eleven when I was first told that I was not pretty enough to have friends at school. At this time, I was living in England, the country I was born in. I suffered for years with the side effects of bullying. I was constantly reminded by myself as well as others, including my friends, that I was not good enough. Whenever people would say unkind comments to me, it chipped at my confidence until it wasn’t present. I began to see myself as the names I was known for. Having friends never came easy to me since.

Simrat with Molly Thompson and Lauren Paul, Kind Campaign co-founders
Simrat with Molly Thompson and Lauren Paul, Kind Campaign co-founders

I moved to Canada in 2011. In 2014, I won a competition to get a girl-against-girl anti- bullying campaign to come to my school, Kind Campaign. I had the opportunity to speak at this event and host this assembly in front of 500 female students. After this assembly, I had groups of girls telling me that this had impacted them immensely. It was that day that I decided that I wanted to make a difference to girls’, as well as boys’, lives. I was going to use my years of suffering positively. That is how I have spoken twice for Peel Children’s Centre and have three more events outstanding with them.

It is my hope that I can start up my own campaign for anti-bullying and speak with people all around the world to tell them there is hope. I could never see the end of the tunnel at the time, but now, if I could go back in time and tell my younger self one thing, it would be that high school was not going to be the end of my life. I thought it was at the time but I am typing this message, positively and with my head held high, hoping that victims of bullying and depression know that there is a future. I hope to continue on with speaking to people around the world, including Peel Children’s Centre, about my journey, how being kind is always the best option, and being the up-stander instead of the bystander.

‘For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with knowledge that you are never alone’ – Audrey Hepburn

Simrat Heer just completed grade 11 at Streetsville Secondary School in Mississauga. She is a local ambassador for Kind Campaign, a global initiative to end girl on girl bullying. Simrat has been speaking to her peers about personal her experience with bullying and the steps she has taken to overcome the effects of bullying to inspire others. Simrat is interested in speaking engagements and can be reached at kindjourney@hotmail.com

A poem Simrat's first true friend sent her while she was overcoming her challenges with bullying
A poem Simrat’s first true friend sent her while she was overcoming her challenges with bullying
Taking action against bullying: a Peel teen shares her story