To end school violence, a superhero is born

Eighteen-year-old Rizka Raisa Fatimah Ramli is the winner of UNICEF’s and Comics Uniting Nations’ End Violence in Schools Superhero Comic Contest. Her winning concept is a 15-year-old superhero named Cipta, who turns drawings into real-life objects that she uses to stop school violence. Rizka’s drawing was selected as a finalist among thousands of entries, and then voted to be the winner by YOU.

As her prize, Rizka worked with a professional team to bring her idea to life and had a mentoring session with comic artist Gabriel Picolo. You can read her final comic book here.

We got a chance to catch up with her after she completed the comic book to find out why she entered the contest, what motivates her, and how she thinks we can all end violence in schools.


Everyday life and drawing

I’m 18 years old and I’m from Makassar, Indonesia. I was recently accepted into the Indonesia Institute of the Arts Denpasar and am now trying to fix my sleeping schedule.

 

A hand-drawn illustration depicting human figure - three angry and one one happy and part of a broken human chain.
© Rizka Raisa Fatimah RamliRizka’s drawing depicting young people taking action against bullying.

My favourite hobbies are drawing (obviously), petting random cats and analyzing cartoons and comics. Cartoons and video games were actually my gateway into drawing. I used to hang out with a couple of drawing and manga groups, where I learned a lot and met some awesome people.

I love doing illustrations because it’s my favourite way to interact with people. I get inspiration and motivation for drawing from my own life, and from everyone I meet. Drawing can be both relaxing and frustrating – there’s no in-between but still, I keep going.

Violence in schools

Based on my own experience and what I know and hear from my friends, violence in schools in my community is a serious problem – it happens a lot. And it’s a never-ending cycle: the older kids bully the younger kids, and when they grow up, they do the same to the generation after them. It’s hard to make bullies understand the effects of their actions because often, they don’t want to listen. The least I could do is not become one of them.

A girl wearing a traditional headscarf sits working on a tablet PC with a wall behind her with signs, posters and quotes
© UNICEF/2019/WilanderRizka Raisa Fatimah Ramli draws comics in the canteen, her favourite drawing place at school.

The comic contest

My friend’s and my personal experience with bullying inspired me to take action by entering the contest, and then deadlines helped motivate me to keep going! When I was coming up with the idea of Cipta, I wanted to create a hero who didn’t rely on violence or destructive superpowers. I thought it would be cool for my hero to fight The Silence with different ways of speaking up.

Creating the comic book

My favourite part of developing the comic book was storyboarding. I was originally going to write a script, but sometimes I have trouble turning my thoughts into words. Thankfully, the team was able to understand my storyboard and use it to develop the book. I learned so much throughout the process, including how to write a proper script and some flowery words, but I’ll keep using my old storyboarding method in case I get stuck mid-sentence. Working with Gabriel Picolo was also a really fun experience. I was so excited! He taught me not to stress about finding my own art style. He said, “All you need to do is keep on drawing, and soon you’ll find it.”

An detailed storyboard illustrated with pencil sketches on white paper
© Rizka Raisa Fatimah RamliRizka’s comic book storyboard.

What we all can do to end violence in schools

Young people shouldn’t be afraid to tell authorities if they’re victims of violence – or even just bystanders. Not everyone is brave enough to do that, but we have to find a way to report. Everyone deserves to feel safe. We need to remember not to give up – violence is not the right answer.

As for adults, young people need to know that they care about our problems, so the easiest thing they can do is listen to us. World leaders, policymakers and school administrators should also be firm when they make rules: the punishment for violence should NOT be another act of violence.

On an ideal future

School is supposed to be a place where violence doesn’t exist. My hope for the future of our world is that everyone becomes more tolerant of each other.

 

 

As told to UNICEF. Interview edited and condensed for clarity and brevity.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with “required.”