My name is Alyssa and I have Down Syndrome. I am in primary four. I had been bullied since I was very young but apart from all the stares I get from people, there are two bullies who make me feel the saddest; their names are Sally and Sasha. Ameera, my best friend, has always been standing up for me. She solved every little problem I had. Sally and Sasha would mock me whenever I looked at them. I had been sad practically my whole life.

The bullying started a long time ago when we were just four years old. A few months ago, they had started putting mean notes inside my locker. “U are so ugly” or “No one likes u, ugly duckling” were written on the papers. This whole thing happened because of the way I look. I was affected badly and could not focus on my studies while coping with this problem at the same time. This problem had been shaking me out of my wits. Ameera also looked very worried as we could not tell the teachers or our parents because Sally and Sasha would always make the adults think that we are the ones that are at fault.

One day, Ameera could no longer tolerate the mean bullying so she reprimanded them. “Stop bullying Alyssa this second or I will make sure that you will regret it!” The bullies were terrified and they ran away but I knew that this was just a temporary solution and before long, they would return to taunt me. I turned to look at Ameera and while she was still seething with rage, she also looked exhausted. Defending me had taken a toll on her.

The thoughts about Ameera worrying about me and the bullies leaving mean notes to me were so overwhelming that my mind went blank and I did not know where to start. Eventually, I thought about my future and how I should protect myself without Ameera. I also thought about what I would do if somebody was bullying me and Ameera was not around.

I told my mother that I wanted to be more self-sufficient and not have to depend on Ameera. She said that it was alright to seek help from Ameera only if I really needed to. I told Ameera this idea the next day and she felt like it was a good idea.

Over the next few days, Ameera seemed less stressed out and healthier because she did not have eye bags like she used to. She did not have to stand up for me as I could defend myself. She did not have to worry about me being bullied. I stood up for myself by going up to Sally and Sasha and told them off. When they saw how brave I was, they stopped teasing me.

From that day onwards, Ameera did not need to stand up for me as I could stand up for myself. I am very thankful that Ameera had helped me this whole time and had been by my side. I knew that Ameera is a friend that can be trusted forever but I also felt better about not bothering her.

I hope that over time, Sally and Sasha realise that people with Down Syndrome are also humans just like themselves, the only difference would be their looks and that does not change anything. We should always treat others how we want to be treated.