Mirko Cazzato is the 19-year-old co-founder of the social startup Mabasta – a new project led by teenagers to tackle the problem of bullying and cyberbullying. In their first year of high school, Mirko and his friends saw that the problem of bullying was not going away, but actually seemed to be getting worse every year. Psychologists, educationalists, teachers, police and parents had tried their best to solve it, but without success. So together with classmates, Mirko launched the Anti-Bullying Movement Animated by Teen Students (or Movimento Anti Bullismo Animato da STudenti Adolescenti – MABASTA).
Right from the start, the plan was to get young people involved in the problem and find solutions applied by the young. At the same time, however, the group wanted to give children concrete actions to combat the scourge of bullying. In 2018, they created the Mabasta Model, an innovative and original protocol of six simple actions that every class can adopt to prevent bullying and cyberbullying. It has the potential to trigger a radical change because it acts "from the bottom up" – giving students their agency as well as the benefits of expert guidance.
Since 2016, Mirko has visited dozens of schools throughout Italy and interacted with thousands of students – many of whom have been victims of bullying and cyberbullying. His goal now is to take the Mabasta Model to as many schools as possible. To date, over 120 classes in Italy have positively tested the model, and 250 more will apply it in the new school year starting September 2021. At the end of 2020 Mabasta also arrived in France, thanks to a teacher of Italian in a French middle school who embraced the model and introduced all six actions in her class.
Though Mirko is only 19 years old, he has already achieved a great deal. He has been covered in national newspapers such as Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, Corriere dello Sport, TuttoSport, Gazzetta dello Sport and many others. He has also met Pope Francis, the Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and the actor Tom Holland (SpiderMan in the Marvel films). Mabasta itself has won several national and international prizes, including Best Student Startup 2019 at the South Europe Startup Awards, the Open-F@b 2018 international social startup contest from BNP Paribas, and the Terra del Sole Award 2019. Beyond Mabasta, Mirko has also won numerous competitions as a Taekwondo black belt and has been recognised by the Lecce Polygon as an excellent sharpshooter. If he wins the Global Student Prize, he will donate the funds entirely to Mabasta, enabling the organisation to supply schools with its various teaching materials free of charge.