The students of Aditya Birla World Academy (ABWA), India’s leading International School located in South Mumbai, announced the launch of ‘ABWA Rainbow Club’ on Instagram. The objective of the club is to foster an inclusive environment for LGBTQIA+ students by raising awareness and address the stigma faced by the community. Through this unique initiative, ABWA has taken a significant stride to be an LGBTQIA+ affirmative school. ABWA students aim to bring diversity, inclusion and increase the visibility of the LGBTQIA+ community.
India is shackled by a stringent collection of social and cultural norms that dictate the terms and conditions of how an individual should live, leading to homosexuality and queer identities being ostracized. ABWA students, thus, felt that it had become more crucial than ever to build a gender-sensitive society and create an inclusive environment so that the coming generations will have a more solid possibility of living up to the ideals of equality. The students from Grade 10 – 12 have undertaken a series of activities to ensure this pioneering initiative sees the light of the day. The essence of such empowering initiatives for the LGBTQIA+ community is critical in order to eradicate the social stigma that is deep-rooted and widespread.
Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Mrs Neerja Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Education Trust said, “Openly revealing one’s orientation or identity remains a constant conflict in our country, making this community a target for discrimination and harassment. We are proud that our students are voicing their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Children must be educated about their fundamental human rights and the tools available to shield those rights. This is a proud moment for us as it showcases that even at a young age, kids understand the depth of struggles faced by the members of LGBTQIA+ community. We, at Aditya Birla World Academy, encourage this initiative that supports LGBTQIA+ activism, by bridging the gap and creating a truly inclusive society.”
Aishani Chowdhury, Student, Aditya Birla World Academy said “We founded the Rainbow Club to create a network of LGBTQIA+ students and allies at ABWA so that LGBTQIA+ students in need of support have a safe space amongst their peers. Through our initiative, we aim to raise awareness, develop a safe space for inclusivity and abolish the social stigma that is present.”
Anika Khanna, Student, Aditya Birla World Academy, “Our mission through the Rainbow Club is to help combat the alienation and uncertainty among young LGBTQIA+ people by providing them with a safe and inclusive community. This helps them understand that they are not alone and that there are others who have had similar experiences whom they can reach out and be able to accept and have pride in their identities.”
With an aim to support student’s well-being and create a safe learning environment for them, ABWA has also been a pioneer of focusing on students’ mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Since 2015, ABWA has been futuristic in implementing ‘Minds Matter’ curriculum that includes mental health literacy, psychosocial intervention, and professional help for students.