DUBAI // Hundreds of children were dazzled by the silky skills of the Harlem Globetrotters on Monday as part of an anti-bullying campaign.
Three members of the world-famous touring team showed off their basketball skills to the delight of more than 500 pupils at Dubai International Academy, in Emirates Hills.
“Our aim is to spread the message that bullying is not cool and that victims should be supported,” said Fatima “TNT” Lister, the Globetrotter’s first female player in 20 years.
“As well as putting on a show, it helps to get the children engaged in what is going on and, as a result, they are more likely to absorb the message.”
The Harlem Globetrotter’s ABC anti-bullying campaign will be spread to schools during the goodwill visit to Dubai.
“The key points of the campaign are that we want children to take action if they see bullying taking place by informing an adult about what has happened,” said team member Chris “Handles” Franklin.
“We encourage children to be brave and walk away from a bully, as usually these types of people are looking for attention.
“And they should also show compassion towards others who are being bullied by befriending them.”
Franklin was inspired to join the Harlem Globetrotters after watching a cartoon of the group as a six-year-old.
“Children are very responsive to role models and it’s important for us as those role models to provide a positive inspiration for them that encourages them to follow their dreams,” he said.
Spanish Grade 4 pupil Aleix Anglada, 9, took part in the demonstration.
“Although I’ve never really played basketball that much, it was a lot of fun and I can’t believe that I took part with the Harlem Globetrotters,” Aleix said.
“I’ve seen a lot of their videos on YouTube so to see them in person was amazing.”
Robyn De Geus, 11 from the Netherlands, was impressed at how the anti-bullying message was delivered.
“It was good because during the demonstrations they kept asking us questions about what the campaign means and how to deal with bullying,” Robyn said.
Tim Richardson, head of primary at the school, said it was vital for children to know they would be heard.
“We make sure that we have adults, be they teachers, classroom assistants or counsellors, our pupils can trust with their concerns about bullying,” he said.
“This is something that has to be constantly reaffirmed and campaigns like this help to do that.”
As part of their 90th anniversary celebrations, the Harlem Globetrotters will perform at Dubai Tennis Stadium on October 28 at 7pm.
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