In celebration of the 10th anniversary of ChildLine Cymru Wales, a crackdown on bullying was launched between schools and the charity through the ChildLine in Partnership with Schools (CHIPS) initiative. CHIPS awards were given to deserving projects across the whole of Wales. There were ten finalists.
On Friday 3rd October 2003, the Peace Mala received the ChildLine Cymru CHIPS Friendship and Respect Award at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Members of the Peace Mala were the only winners of ChildLine’s first anti-bullying awards to meet Esther Rantzen at ChildLine’s headquarters in Swansea, the day before the awards were presented.
The youth team and their teacher Pam Evans (who created the Peace Mala) were thrilled when they heard that Esther wanted to meet them. Esther, who is one of British TV’s best known personalities, spent three hours with the team talking about the impact of the Peace Mala in its fight against racism, religious intolerance and all forms of prejudice.
To the delight of the team, she immediately placed a Peace Mala on both of her wrists and declared the peace bracelet an absolutely fabulous idea which could help combat bullying.
Imran Sheikh, a Welsh Muslim and youth team leader of the Peace Mala, had suffered verbal abuse after the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York. Whilst at the ChildLine centre, Imran was interviewed for BBC News and found his face and the story of the Peace Mala on the BBC world-wide website the following day.
Immediately after meeting Esther Rantzen, the youth team went on to meet Norma Glass MBE. Norma is a member of Swansea Orthodox Synagogue and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. She has given enthusiastic support to the Peace Mala since its creation and was at the launch to light the peace candle on behalf of all Jewish traditions. Norma and the team celebrated their success with fruit juice and honey cakes; a traditional food during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. What a wonderful way to start the New Year. Mazel Tov!
On the day of the award, the team were accompanied by one of the patrons of the Peace Mala, Lama Khyimsar Rinpoche. Rinpoche, who had recently returned from Los Angeles, happened to be in Wales conducting a peace retreat. He made time in his busy schedule to join the team at Cardiff Millennium Stadium.
“When we knew that Rinpoche was in Wales, we all kept our fingers crossed that he would be able to join us for the award. We are thrilled that he did. It’s made our day. We know that Dr. Rowan Williams, our other Patron, will be delighted when he hears about this award,” said Kelly-Anne Thomas, Head Girl at Coedcae School, Llanelli and youth team leader of the Peace Mala.