Breaking Barriers---A Human Rights Campaign
In the year 2013, the school initiated its Human Rights campaign ‘Breaking Barriers’. This social outreach program of the school, is a sincere attempt to sensitize senior school students about the LGBTQI + community, by highlighting and addressing the prejudice against the members of this community through years of stereotyping and social conditioning by society.
The main objectives which propel the campaign are;
To re-iterate that we are an inclusive school in all respects.
To encourage students to respect diversity in all forms.
Prevent bullying, on any grounds, at school.
Sensitize senior students, to dispel myths and misconceptions around the community.
Foster a school climate that is open to dialogue and accepting of differences.
The school is a pioneer amongst schools across the nation, to have opened a dialogue on a sensitive subject that must not be avoided.
The beginning and journey of the campaign so far is as follows;
- As an active member of The Global Education Leadership Foundation (t GELF) which is dedicated to grooming socially conscious youth leaders, our alumni, Sohini Chakrabarti and Safina Amin presented this campaign at tGELF’s Youth Leader Competition and were declared winners. Ever since the school is committed to breaking social barriers which undermine human rights in any way.
- The school embarked on a mission to expand the reach of its Human Rights campaign for the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex), by identifying and training volunteer peer educators from classes IX-XI. The sole objective was to help spread awareness and, sensitize schools and institutions across the city about this community.
- The ‘Breaking Barriers’ team then partnered with CREA and the Naz Foundation and since then, CREA has conducted nearly 25 hours of intensive training for our peer educators.
- The peer educators regularly conduct informative awareness workshops for students of Class IX-XII and all teachers within the school. They have been invited by other schools and organizations to carry out the sensitization workshops.
- So far, the campaign members have sensitized more than 3500 students across the city, reaching out to more than 30 schools.
- We take pride in being the only school in the country to actively participate in the Delhi Pride Parade every year from the year 2013 onwards.
- The Naz foundation has provided us with resources and also facilitated an interactive session between the peer educators and members of the LGBTQI community.
- The school has a social media handle @breakingbarrierscampaign on Instagram, with all updates on the work undertaken by the campaign members.
- We have an informative notice board, an anonymous complaint box, scrapbook and a shelf dedicated to the LGBTQI community, in the library.
Since its inception, we can very proudly say that we’ve truly come a long way, not just in terms of the impact on others, but also the appreciation we’ve received for taking up this initiative.
Our social campaign was validated by being declared a winner under the ‘Best Practices’ category and the school was publically showcased in the 25th National Annual Sahodaya Conference in November 2019.
Teacher -in-charge: Ms. Vedica Saxena
- President – Aarushi Guleria XI B
- Vice president – Vaanya Kalra IX C
Gender Sensitisation Session # Online for students of XLRI , Jamshedpur on 2nd April 2021
Breaking Barriers kick started this academic year by conducting a gender sensitisation session for students of XLRI , Jamshedpur on 2nd April 2021 via Google Meet. Many students attended this 1.5 hour long session. Our campaign members showcased a detailed presentation about Human Rights, bullying, legal aspects/judgements, gender and sexuality, how individuals can play an important role in spreading the right awareness, etc.
Students from XLRI were very proactive and participated enthusiastically . They applauded the efforts of the students on talking about and spreading awareness on this crucial social issue.
They also expressed their desire to develop their own campaign at their institute. We are going to conduct another session for their management. The session ended on a prolific note to work together in making a more inclusive and bright future for everyone.
Breaking Barriers campaign featured in 'EQUALLY' as a proud case study on creating inclusive space at school for all and spreading awareness on Human Rights
EQUALLY: Stories by Friends of the Queer World, is a first of its kind anthology of powerful personal stories by eminent individuals from various fields of life who have stood up, spoken up for the LGBT+ community, and created safe spaces at home, schools, colleges, workplaces, and in society. Each tale in this book is an inspiration, a motivation, and a reminder that there are people across the country for whom the aspect of an individual’s identity and existence is imperative. Each story conveys solidarity towards the LGBT+ community through their written experience of realization and transformation into an Ally makes this more than just a book – it is a milestone on the path towards Inclusion.
With respect to the same, Ms Vedica Saxena, our project director and Shaina Shingari from class IX of the Breaking Barriers Campaign have contributed to this book to voice their opinions on behalf of the school. Our Breaking Barriers campaign has been featured as a proud case study on creating inclusive space at school for all and spreading awareness on Human Rights.
Our school believes in equality for all and has partnered with Pride Circle in this initiative, thereby eloquently sharing our allyship story. It’s an honor to be able to chronicle it in this book.
Please find below , the book cover & the document that contains the details about the book & fellow authors. This book is being published by Rupa Publications and will be available on Amazon after its launch event on 9th April 2021.
Breaking Barriers Team conducted a 1.5 hour long online session with the senior school students of Shiv Nadar School, Noida on 30 October '2020
It was a very interactive & mindful session with students and teachers asking questions and feeling engrossed. The campaign members explained various terms and ideas related to the LGBT +, about human rights, diversity in schools and workplaces. They also discussed about how one must not be a victim of bullying or even be a part of bullying. The aim of the campaign has always been to avoid bullying at school level. The students seemed to echo our thoughts. This session also inspired them to initiate similar campaign in their own school.
Online Book Reading Session with Mr. Parmesh Sahani on 19 September 2020
Breaking Barriers hosted yet another interesting virtual session on 19th September at 6 pm with Mr.Parmesh Shahani, author of the book, ‘QUEERISTAN.’ It was a one hour long interactive ‘Book Reading’ session which was attended by not just the campaign members but also the senior students of TIS, EOK and some students from other schools that were sensitized in the past. Mr. Parmesh shared his life journey, his experience of creating this book and also the laws that still need to be enforced in favour of the LGBT+. He expressed his happiness towards the campaign aim and wished to see many more schools initiate similar campaign to spread awareness on Human Rights.
Breaking Barriers Team of our school celebrated two years of decriminalization of Section 377 with an online event on 07 September 2020
Decriminalisation of section 377 was celebrated virtually on 7th Sep at 6pm. It was an insightful session since the members interacted with eminent personalities from the community like – Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Richa Vashista, Harish Iyer, Hiten Noonwal. These guests shared struggles, journey and stories of their triumphs. The fact that they are all great as human beings in their own ways by creating a positive impact on youth and society makes them stand out. The session was also streamed live on school’s official YouTube channel for all to witness. We thank them once again for their precious time in joining us for this session.
Here are some screenshots from the event.
Breaking Barriers featured in a book- QUEERISTAN
Breaking Barriers is immensely proud to have been featured in one of the top books, QUEERISTAN which is on LGBT+ Inclusion in India. Queeristan is written by Parmesh Shahani, India Head of Godrej Cultural Lab. The school has been mentioned as a case study because of the awareness it has been creating on gender rights and bullying at school level. After being covered in print media for our Human Rights Initiative, our school now gets recognised in a book which was launched on 20th August 2020. This book is a great read because it covers all aspects of human rights, history of LGBT+, inclusion at workplaces, legal aspects, experiences by eminent personalities across various fields and professions (even from national and international corporates and brands). We take pride in being the only School mentioned as a case study amongst various organisations.
Online Gender Sensitization Session with Amazon Team on 11 August 2020
Breaking Barriers Campaign conducted an online gender sensitization session with Amazon team on 11th August 7.30 pm. It was a 1.5 hours long presentation and interaction that went very well. Members who attended this session from the Amazon team were Mr Kapil Agarwal, Senior Site Leader, Ms Khushboo Kashyap- Operations Manager, Head of the D&I initiative at Amazon, other operations managers, members of the HR and D&I team.
The entire team of Amazon was very appreciative of the presentation and the way students presented the campaign with confidence. They also expressed their interest in collaborating with the campaign in future.
Instagram Live Session with Gandhinagar Queer Pride and Unmukt IIT Kanpur on 18 July 2020
Second Instagram live session of Breaking Barriers was organized with Gandhinagar Queer Pride and Unmukt IIT Kanpur on 18th July, 6 pm. It was an interactive session on exchanging campaign experience, challenges, journey and future prospects. The video from the session can be watched on the link below.
Campaign Bagged Laurels at 21 Days Ally Challenge organised by Pride Circle
One of the campaign members, Shaina Shingari of class IX won 3rd position in #21DaysAllyChallenge organised by Pride Circle in the month of June 2020. As a part of this Challenge, she had to accomplish a series of tasks and challenges each day as an LGBT+ Ally changemaker. From 58 countries, a total of 12,750 participants had participated in this challenge. There were a mix of fortune 500 companies, corporates, colleges like IIMs and IITs in this challenge. It gives us a lot of happiness to be the only school to participate in the whole of the country and win 3rd position.
Not just this, Shaina’s efforts have been acknowledged by the gifts and prizes she has received:
Gift vouchers by Capgemini, Intuit, Pitney Bowes, Sodexo worth INR 8,000
Laptop bag by Hidesign worth INR 10,000
Echo dot by UBS worth INR 3,500
Rainbow Scarf by Niesen worth INR 1,500
Gifts by Indeed worth INR 2,000
Gift voucher by Infosys worth INR 15,000
Breaking Barriers Campaign featured in The Bastion
Breaking Barriers Campaign has been featured yet again in The Bastion, an independent digital magazine that publishes ideas and reportage on issues of development for India’s youth. The campaign is continuing to break barriers and inspiring other schools to follow, making the school proud.
Breaking Barriers Campaign goes Live
Breaking Barriers Campaign was invited for a live Instagram interview by The Talk Project on 11th July @ 5pm to discuss ‘Gender & Sexuality Awareness’ in schools. This was the first ever live session for the campaign that turned out instrumental in inspiring the online audience to educate themselves on Gender Equality.
Talk Project is a digital initiative in the field of Sexuality Education.
The project is geared towards helping parents, educators, students, young adults, society develop awareness, perspectives and skills on talking to kids about comprehensive sex-ed.
Online Interactive Session with 'Mansa ' on 24 June 2020
Mansa, a Mental Health Awareness Organization, interacted with the campaign members in a first ever online interview on 24th June 2020. This organization was founded by a clinical psychologist, Dr. Shweta Sharma in October 2018. Since then, they have been working towards spreading awareness on ‘mental health’ in Delhi and Gurugram. They work on different themes all through the year but June, being the Pride Month, their focus was to spread Mental Health Awareness of the LGBTQAI+ community.
The session was insightful as the campaign members shared important information related to their work and journey over the years. The students were interviewed by Ms. Sheena Malik and Ms. Divya Bansal from Mansa.
Collaborating As An Outreach Partner with Pride Circle
We are delighted to join Pride Circle as an Outreach Partner for their #21DaysAllyChallenge to celebrate Pride Month.
Other partners with us are:
Acme Experience | BeUnic | IIM Ally | LinkedInLocal India | Rainbow Literature Festival | The QKnit | Solidarity Foundation
We are proud to be the only school in the country to be a part of this Outreach programme.
The campaign will engage allies like us in a series of 21 micro-challenges/ activities the entire month of June, celebrating Pride month. The initiative leverages gamification and recognition to drive increased engagement.
About the Challenge, => Follow us on Instagram @breakingbarrierscampaign