HER stutter has not held a Burns Beach girl back from becoming a public speaker and advocate against bullying.
About 73 people attended a recent fundraiser for anti-bullying organisation Kidzucate in Joondalup, which raised almost $2000.
Introducing herself as the Kidzucate Kid, Sian Williams (8) delivered her speech to the adult audience without letting her stutter hold her back.
“People say I’m different, but I think I’m just a regular kid,” she said. “I enjoy doing cool, fun stuff.
“But I don’t think it’s fun or cool when others are unhappy and being bullied.”
“My dream is to make people happy and to get other kids to join me.
“I’ve cuddled this dream deep inside, ever since I was old enough to understand the things people go through – times of joy; happiness; sadness; and pain.”
Born in South Africa and having lived in the Middle East before moving to Perth in 2011, Sian has a worldly outlook on life.
“Just before I turned four, while still in my first year (my teachers) asked me to work with and be friends with an autistic boy, the same age as I was,” she said.
“I remember playing with him and helping him learn to play and make friends with other kids.
“My parents raised me to be what adults call ‘colour blind’ – I call it being sensible.
“For me, everyone is the same, once they have a good heart.”“I love travelling and learning about other people and their cultures – my dream is to travel to America and go to Disneyland,” she said.
Sian said she struggled at her first school because “kids laughed at me because I couldn’t get my words out”.
After transferring to Quinns Baptist College, she found support from her Year 1 teacher Lucia Smith, who attended the fundraiser with Sian’s Year 2 and Year 3 teachers Corinna Olsen and Michelle Eva.
“She told the kids from day one about my stutter and the kids then didn’t have much reason to tease me, because they knew I was not able to control my speech,” she said.
Sian, helped by her mother Azelene, launched Kidzucate two years ago and started making videos “to discourage bullying and to teach kids to be kind and respectful”.
“I’ve learnt from my own experience and from seeing other children’s pain that bullying is a serious problem,” she said.
“I used to stutter a lot. Other children tried to bully me and to make fun of me. I decided to stand up and be strong and to do something to change this.
“I also believe ‘kids learn better through kids’. I wanted to be a mentor to other kids. I also got friends to help me reach other kids.”
Kidzucate was incorporated in April 2014, and Sian travelled to the Youth for Human Rights Summit in Europe in September 2014, where, aged seven, she was the youngest attendee.
The Year 3 student said her non-profit organisation had three programs available – Take-A-Stand Bully Prevention, Child Safety and Teen Safe – which they wanted to offer for free to children.
To do that, she said they needed donations and sponsors.
Her mother also spoke at the fundraiser, where she launched her autobiographical book, Broken, about domestic violence experienced in a previous relationship.
Guest speakers included burns victim Dana Vulin, Jennifer Gillson, of 1000 Women 1000 Ways, models Alicia Tavani and Heidi Andrews, plus Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard. For more, visit www.kidzucate.com.