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Stand up for Yourself! Dealing with bullying through self-confidence workshops and social campaign based on patient's life stories.

Support in developing social skills helping to handle real-life exposure and to deal with bullying, supported by media campaign.

Photo of Monika Wyrzykowska
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Please elaborate on your proposed solution to the challenge in no more than 300 words.

Bullying can be a result of fear of the unknown or of anxiety expressed as aggression in the presence of a particular trigger. Those with lower self-esteem are natural victims. Researche indicates that high self-esteem protects children, adolescents and adults from involvement in bullying, whether they are potential bullies or victims. Thus we will work with a group of adults on building self-esteem and positive thinking through psychological workshops and, as a result of group discussions and exercises, prepare a package of guidelines and self-protection tools to be shared with others living with AD and dealing with bullying. Materials will be prepared with dermatologists and psychologists. We will create short real-life stories to reinforce our message. Materials will be distributed through various media in the form of short videos, articles and infographics. We hope to initialize online support to help those who are bullied. By that we share knowledge and build confidence helping individuals and families to become more resilient when facing challenges. To achieve synergy, we plan to cooperate with all members of Polish coalition for AD, currently implementing a media campaign “Understanding AD”. We will start promoting the programme at one of the major dermatological conferences in Poland held in Feb. 2020. At the conference we will hold a press conference and panel discussions (5 health specialists / adults with AD) broadcasted online.

What is the name of your organization?

Polish Society for Atopic Diseases (PTCA), registered as a non-profit organization with court registry no. (KRS) 0000639662.

Where are you and your organization based?

Warsaw, Poland

Please provide a description of your organization.

PTCA was established by: a group of people living with AD, parents of ill kids and health professionals. It's been active in Poland for several years and carries on activities initiated in 2010 by the Alabaster Foundation. Both organizations cooperate tightly. Together they've realized 100 various workshops, lectures, presentations and events in order to rise awareness of AD and to educate everyone related, from families, adults and kids that deal with the disease, to health specialists.

What is your name?

Monika Wyrzykowska

Tell us about your organization, or the organization you are partnering with: What inspired you to participate in this Challenge (300 words or less)?

I am a founder member and a project coordinator in PTCA. I am also president of the Alabaster Foundation. Together, we've established an umbrella organization (SkinHub) to join our forces in providing people with AD with support in all aspects of their social and business life. Due to constant itching and pain as well as recurring worsened appearance, a huge proportion of kids, youth and adults withdraw from active life. We take it as our mission to help these people rise and run normal, happy lives. For almost all people with acute AD everyday life becomes a challenge. If, at the same time, the outside world offers obstacles like bullying and discrimination, life becomes too difficult to handle. So far, we were involved in two projects dealing with bullying – national campaign “Understanding AD” and our own “The doors – opening the doors to new jobs”. Participating in this Challenge gives us a possibility to review and enrich our ideas and, if we receive financial support, will extend the scope of our activities and help us reach a wider audience. Working together on specific tasks and taking part in psychological workshops strengthens participating individuals and the whole AD community, triggering more upward initiatives. Having more funds, we can also create better visual and audio campaigns to educate, support and influence decisionmakers. Over the years we have realised that psychological support is vital for AD patients and we want to get wider expertise and experience to deliver this help efficiently and professionally.

Building on your initial proposal in the Ideas Phase, please share additional information on your solution to the challenge in more detail (500 words or less).

The current proposal is a continuation of our earlier project "The doors" aiming at building self-confidence in a group of people suffering from AD and helping them get back to social and professional life. Part of the group, after finishing the project, joined a national educational campaign "Understanding AD" and presented their life stories to the public. As participants of this campaign we would like to continue working with some of these people in a process of rising self-awareness, support them in their new educational mission and co-create with them new materials that would strengthen the campaign message. We would like to invite new participants to extend the group of active representatives of AD society. The bigger the group is, the more followers they will have. Apart from creating new materials for educational campaign, supporting group of people with AD from the psychological side, during the workshops we want to create a set of tools to help parents in building their kids' self-esteem. One of the ideas already passed to us by members of a discussion group which PTCA moderates on Facebook was a guidebook with psychological advice on how to talk with kids and school representatives about bullying. Another idea was to create a set of kids' stories with attached games which parents could use to initiate indirect discussions with kids, and in this way learn about the challenges their kids face. The PTCA presented this idea for open discussion in a discussion group on Facebook. There were talks held with the marketing agency running "Understanding AD" on how we could cooperate to the advantage of both "Stand up for yourself" project and their national campaign. Objectives: 1) To strengthen the relationship between individuals (adults with AD and parents of kids with AD) who established closer cooperation with the PTCA. Give them more skills and areas to become experts, so that they can be good examples to follow for those who still struggle with finding the will to live and act. 2) In cooperation with the aforementioned group and by using external assistance form an agency already involved in a country-wide campaign "Understand AD" and the its broadcasting and promotional channels (existing web page of campaign, newsletters, contscts with media) to create short video and audio materials that will enrich the campaign's message. 3) To create sustainable results in the form of guidebooks, games, kids' stories which would help parents in psychological support for their kids and protecting them from bullying.

Please share more information on the steps you’ll take to make sure the project is a success (500 words or less).

We have devided the project into three pahses: 1) Preperation. This phase of the project will embrace: designing a web page, deciding on a communication strategy, and setting a media plan in cooperation with the agency running "Understanding AD" campaign, preparing a workshop scenario consulted with psychologists, school teachers and medical specialists, selecting trainers, recruiting participants. 2) Operational stage, during which we will run psychological workshops to integrate the group and to empower participants, followed by group work on specific tasks. Those tasks will include working out best tools which could help parents to help their kids to stand up against bullying. Throughout this phase we will record videos and audio materials. We want to present short life stories of participants who, despite their illness, manage to live active and fulfilling lives. We also want to present shots from the training itself together with participants' comments and opinions on how to handle bullying. 3) Implementation stage will cover production of promotional materials and printed materials as well as implementation of media plan and distribution of guidebooks or other publications. A specific timeline is attached below. During the time of a project we will collaborate with the AD community, Fundacja Alabaster and the media company coordinating "Understanding AD". We will also consult content of the materials with medical specialists and psychologists. There are several risks related to the project, among others: 1) Lack of participants. Risk mitigation: through the regular newsletter sent to people who registered as members of PTCA association or through discussion groups on Facebook we have access to several thousands of people dealing with AD, either as the ones having the disease or parents of kids with AD. We already realized several successful projects, which gained interest among those groups. 2) Unsatisfactory promotion of the project. Risk mitigation: we will promote the project through our channels: discussion groups, newsletter, already established contacts with media, self-published quarterly magazine "Atopia" issued since 2017. Information will also be spread by partnering agency under the national campaign "Understanding AD" as well as by associated Fundacja Alabaster. 3) Unsuccessful workshops. Risk mitigation: I am a business trainer, art-therapist and drama trainer. I have 8 years experience in running training and workshops with various groups of people, among others with families with kids suffering from AD and adults with AD. I also have a network of involved specialists able to ensure quality. 4) Quality of promotional materials. Risk mitigation: we will consult on that with the partnering media agency and will ensure we engage experienced camera operators, film makers and photographers. 5) Low reach. Risk mitigation: we will avail of promotional chanells already used in "Understanding AD" and find new channels.

How is your idea scalable (300 words or less)?

Expected results: 8 days - 8 hours of workshops each (64 hours), 8-10 core participants, 8 to 16 various visual materials available on internet, 3-8 audio recordings, 1 guidebook in 4 to 5 thousand copies distributed together with some mix of samples of various dermocosmetics producers (PTCA provides regular sampling services for companies producing products for AD). Information about the project, educational materials, videos, articles, anything that will be written , audio or video result of the project will be made available to around 40.000 people, viewers, followers or receipients of newsletter or magazine. Information will be also published in electronic media within the scopes of "Understanding AD" campaign. The workshops can easily be repeated with other groups and the materials can be translated and used in other languages.

How would you know if your idea worked and how would you measure it (500 words or less)?

We will get feedback from our participants - oral and expressed in questionnaires. We will follow access statistics of all materials published on the internet (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram - all use analytic tools). The guidebook will be sent directly to the receipients in the certain number of copies. We will also get instant feedback from the discussion groups on Facebook. These analytic tools will give us direct insight into the popularity and reception of distributed materials. In the future we can also use the data to improve subsequent editions.

During the Ideas Phase, you estimated how much your project will cost. Please update if this estimate has changed?

  • $10,000 or more

Please share more information on how the grant funding will be used to bring your idea to life. Please provide an itemized budget. (500 words or less)

Cost breakdown is presented in the attached table.

If available, share prototypes, images, sketches of how you created your idea, including a timeline of how your idea will roll out (optional).

We gave our project a timespan of one year, which may seem long. We know from experience that to choose appropriate canditates for the project requires time. Also production of films and printed materials consumes time. A 12-month realisation period will give the team enough time to produce quality materials and achieve a proper scale.


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Photo of Monika Wyrzykowska

@Antoine Salaun thank you for your suggestion. I will check that workshop. All the best :)

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