When I was 14 years old I attempted vto end my own life.Racism and bullying from my teachers and peers made me doubt my life's value.In my hardest times,the thing that saved me were comic books.Seeing stories of underdog heroes fighting their insecurities made me feel like I could too.Years later while volunteering at an elementary school I mentored a Female Genital Mutilation victim student named Aisha. Even though she loved to talk about superiors,for Halloween she felt like the only person she could be was CJ from grand theft Auto.Due to the bullying and psychological mental torture she had experienced,she didn't think she was capable of being a hero.My experience with Aisha taught me that the discrimination I faced wasn't individual,it was institutional.We founded our small organisation,Onz Mental health production ,with the hopes that we could use the same stories that helped us to find our inner heroes ,to support students everywhere.since then,I have brought Social Emotional Learning curricula and diverse stories to over 1million Ugandan students leading to improvement of mental health literacy,and Digital citizenship.

What it does

Our project is innovative because we place student interests,agency ,and indentify the center of their educational journey.My program leverages who students are as their greatest weapon for succeeding in the classroom,young people are flocking in graphic novels,we get to take growing medium in print publishing.By rooting our curricula in graphic novels plus their proven literacy benefits to create a program that helps every student find their super power. Since our comics feature diverse characters,and our curriculum focuses on agency and equity,our programs created a direct path from student well being to academic outcomes.In a survey,90% of Genz students said they wanted to do something to change the world.Our program makes the classroom the path to reach that outcome Our mental health production has combined equity SEL programming with culturally relevant literacy curricula which helps students grow from learners in their schools,to leaders in their community.we believe hobbies, passion,and cultural identities that make students who they are will enable them to change the world

How we built it

Onz Mental health is an initiative that uses superheroes and comic books to improve mental health and literacy in the lives of young people.We are running a National Education Program that combines comic books with ant-violence and equity based SEL curricula.Usibg narrative ability of graphic novels ,wehelp students to love themselves,so they can use that love to help others

Challenges we ran into

Currently ,the barrier to our goals are dream capacity and a public platform.In the last year,we impacted over 1million students with a team of 10,if our capacity was increased,we can invest in expanding our operations and technology team

Accomplishments that we're proud of

To date we have worked with over 4000 students across 14 regions we have also brought out comics and curricula directly to one million young people. Over 90% of the young people that have used our program have demonstrated improvements in social emotional health,and digital citizenship competency

What we learned

Our work at the intersection of the Education and Mental health places us in direct alignment with the UN SDGs 3 and 4, Good health and Well -being and Quality Education

What's next for Onz Mental Health Production-Uganda.

To reach out goal of 1.5million young people in the next year,I plan to expand our institutional partnership across other rural regions and augment our direct to household work.

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