Recently, I wrote about the topic of respect in politics. This week I wanted to return to the subject of respect but to widen the debate. I’ve invited a very impressive young man, Nicholas Nikiforou, 10, recipient of a Diana Award for his tireless campaigning for respect for one another and for his charitable fundraising, to share his thoughts.
I first met Nik at the Princess Diana awards at the University of Bath where he gave a speech and I was bowled over by him. I’ve stayed in touch with him ever since.
“I was bullied when I was younger to the point where I wished I had not been born. I do not want anyone else to feel like that,” says Nik who was born with a large congenital melanocytic nevus, which is classified under the Disability Act and medical terminology as ‘disfigurement’, something that he strongly disagrees with.
“We all have our differences; it’s about what’s on the inside that counts. I would say to people, ‘why are you staring at me? We all look different.
“You have to think before you speak about how what you say could affect the other person. You have to try your best to be kind to everyone and to respect each other.”
“I want to campaign for anti-bullying and do a lot of speeches around the world and actually get the word out there that bullying is an issue and we have to solve it now.”
Nik, who found a voice in art, printed hundreds of his own art works on postcards and handed them out to the public as part of his campaigning for kindness and tolerance of one another and to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital.
An exhibition of his anti-bullying art work, which has won many competitions, will open on Clevedon Pier on November 13 and will run until November 19. “I use art for my voice and I give my art out to people just to make them feel happy,” says Nik.
You can find out more about Nik and his work on YouTube where he raises awareness for many charities – enter ‘Nicholas Nikiforou’ in the search engine.
“Nik is a truly remarkable lad who is proving an inspiration to lots of people – including me.”