Aditya Birla World Academy, Mumbai in collaboration with Mpower (an organization dedicated to championing mental health causes) organized a competition called “The Happy Place” on body positivity to reshape perceptions of body image and promote self-esteem among teenagers. Over 100 students from 25 schools joined the initiative on October 13-14.
The event was a mosaic of engaging and impactful activities, each meticulously curated to empower students on human body and body appearances. “Stop the Shame Game” (Street Play), “Change the Beat” (Singing), “Behind the Scars” (Photography), “Distorted” (Ad/Short Film Making), “Rainbow Reflections” (Art), “All Sizes Fit” (Dance), “The Myth of Beauty” (Fashion Show) and “Heal Yourself, Heal the World” (Writing and Poetry) were instrumental in creating a positive, empowering, and inclusive environment for students to embrace their uniqueness and build a strong sense of self-worth.
In addition to this multi-cultural event, “The Happy Place” offered enriching workshops on Dance Movement Therapy, Art Therapy, and Body Positivity (Be-You) sessions. These sessions provided participants with insights to embrace and love their bodies as well as foster an environment of mutual support and healing through writing and poetry. This initiative was a collective effort to challenge stereotypes, celebrate body positivity, and advocate self-acceptance with uniqueness.
Noted Bollywood actor Boman Irani graced the opening ceremony to offer support and an extra layer of motivation to the cause. Speaking on the occasion he said: “Embrace your greatest joy by simply enjoying yourself, as Mrs. Sinha wisely noted: ‘Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.’ While this holds true, remember that your happiness is a journey that depends wholly and solely on yourself. In my experience, I found that when I wholeheartedly embraced self-enjoyment, it started a flourishing career of happiness. I encourage you not to take yourself too seriously; it’s perfectly okay. Cherish the present moment, and even if unkind words come your way, resist the urge to let them hurt or harm you—just laugh it off. After all, your sense of humour is your strongest armour.”
Speaking at the event, Radhika Sinha, Principal, Aditya Birla World Academy said, “In my journey of learning, few important life lessons were that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. We must be sensitive to what triggers a dip in our children’s self-esteem. It is important to reaffirm to oneself that I am in charge of how I feel and today I choose to feel good about myself. It generates a strong positive attitude and strengthens the ability to look into the mirror, smile at the person and say, you look good. Believe me, the effect of this reaffirmation never fails.”
Parveen Shaikh, Psychologist and Vice President, MPower said, “I have always struggled with body image, body fat shaming. So I put all my energy into studying, being humorous, having those laughs, all of that. I accept myself. I love myself. So that’s what I ask all the young people today. Everything begins from us. If you start loving yourself and act out of love for yourself, you will automatically be kind to everybody and be kind to yourself. Because life is not easy, you are going to have anxieties, you are going to have depression episodes, all that is a part of life. But if you are basically strong within and accept the way you are, I think that’s the first step towards a wholesome healthy life which includes mental health as well as your physical health.”