The students of Aditya Birla World Academy (ABWA), India’s leading International School located in South Mumbai successfully conducted a ‘Pride Week’ program, which was aimed at supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. With a belief that it is more important now than ever to raise awareness about creating an inclusive atmosphere, the students at ABWA initiated the ‘Pride Week’ program which was backed by the school as well. As a result, students of grades 11 & 12 launched the initiative with the support of the pastoral care team at school. Several activities were planned throughout an entire week to promote diversity and inclusiveness, as well as raise the visibility of LGBTQIA+ community.
The ‘Pride week’ campaign was celebrated with the focus of “Building Allyship” where students were seen conducting a diverse range of engaging activities. The students created a video around ‘Why is it important to spread awareness about LGBTQIA+ community’ and amplified it on social media. The staff and parents supported the initiative by participating in ‘Rainbow dressing’ and shared images on social media using the #RainbowLove. The students also shared various posters and videos of the activities conducted on social media to spread awareness. During the week-long program, students conducted activities such as art competition, workshop for parents, discussion on mental health and LGBTQIA+, panel discussion, etc.
Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Mrs. Neerja Birla, Founder & Chairperson, Aditya Birla Education Trust said, “School is meant to be a safe space to learn, a microcosm of the larger society that we step into as we grow. The environment of a school has a direct impact on how we learn and interact with our peers. Teachers and administrators work hard to make classroom a welcoming place where each student feels included. We will always encounter people who’re different from us in terms of cultures, languages, interests, sexual orientations, etc. It wouldn’t be right for anyone to be bullied or discriminated against because of who they are, or what they like. Our vision at ABWA has always been to prepare students to be global citizens, with open minds and compassionate hearts. In line with this thought, I am glad to announce that ABWA is proud to be LGBTQIA+ inclusive. Here at ABWA, we have just completed Pride Week dedicated to celebrating the many hues of our identities. We need to remember that even though we are all different, we are all human. ”
Ms. Niharika Tewari parent of ABWA student Unmani Tewari said, “We are extremely proud to have our children study at Aditya Birla World Academy, who with their support and willingness to be at the forefront of addressing larger concerns, have brought to life the idea that the struggle is really won in the hearts and minds first. Pride Week is a brilliant initiative by the students who are showing support and standing up for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Aditya Birla World Academy has been at the forefront of encouraging initiatives that shape a safe tomorrow for the students and support their mental wellbeing. ABWA has implemented a ‘Minds Matter’ curriculum that includes mental health literacy, psychosocial intervention, and professional help for students. The school has also been a pioneer of focusing on students’ mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, with an aim to create a safe learning environment for them.