In 2005, even before The Mary Foundation was founded, The Crown Princess had the idea for a new initiative focusing on tackling bullying among children. The idea was inspired by the Australian project Better Buddies, which was developed by The Alannah & Madeline Foundation.
On the Crown Princess’ initiative, the Free of Bullying project began to take shape in Save the Children Denmark. Later, when The Mary Foundation was founded in 2007, The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark worked together to further develop and spread the Free of Bullying programme. And today, Free of Bullying has been implemented in more than half of all Denmark’s childcare facilities and in nearly half of all after school clubs and schools.
“From my very first experience with Better Buddies, I could see that the approach could be something very special in terms of creating communities and togetherness among children. It seemed clear to me that Denmark could take inspiration from Better Buddies. It has been very rewarding, and we are grateful for the starting point it has given us in The Mary Foundation’s work to combat bullying,”
says the Crown Princess.
As a thank you for the inspiration for Free of Bullying, The Mary Foundation has decided to donate AUD 50,000 to The Alannah & Madeline Foundation – on the occasion of The Crown Princess’ 50th birthday.
“Over the course of nearly 15 years, thousands of children have learned about the values of tolerance, respect, care and courage. Our evaluations show that preschool children who work with Free of Bullying clearly demonstrate greater empathy than children who do not work with the programme. And they’re better at handling bullying and teasing. Without the inspiration of Better Buddies, Free of Bullying would not have become what it is today. Therefore, we would like to say thank you and give a back a little with the donation to The Alannah and Madeline Foundation,” says Director of The Mary Foundation Helle Østergaard.
Inspired by Better Buddies, Free of Bullying has been adapted to Danish conditions and Danish day care centres, preschools and schools. The Australian programme’s iconic purple teddy bear, Buddy Bear, can also be found in the Free of Bullying universe.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation is still working to tackle bullying among children in Australia – not only through Better Buddies, but also through other targeted projects that prevent and combat bullying in children’s physical and digital worlds.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s CEO, Sarah Davies, thanks The Crown Princess and The Mary Foundation for their generous support.
“Our long-term relationship with Crown Princess Mary is so highly valued. The Alannah & Madeline Foundation still works to end bullying and cyber bullying among children and young people through targeted and cutting-edge programs. Both our foundations have the shared purpose of keeping our children safe,” Ms Davies says.