During our staff training day, our new ED&I officer, Andreia Borges De Lima, was interviewed by current pupil Alice and her brother Benjamin (ON). They asked her about the role and what her hopes and aspirations are for the school. In this blog, Andreia tell us more about her vision:
“My vision for this role is to ensure that everything that I do is founded upon love and compassion. My personal conviction is that if we all loved ourselves fully, and loved each other in the same measure, equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) would come naturally. Therefore, my primary focus is celebration of individuality and uniqueness.
Secondly, and equally as important, is compassion. ED&I is complex, sensitive and, at times, subjective. Therefore, focussing on legalism and policing won’t be the most effective way to change culture in the long-term. Instead, if we focus on compassion and understanding, we create a psychologically safe environment where everyone feels comfortable, to be honest about their views and feels supported to learn at their own pace.
Practically, my work is centred on education and representation. Ignorance isn’t bliss and I like to believe that most discrimination and prejudice stems from a lack of understanding rather than from deliberate malicious intent. As such, education of pupils and training of staff is key. Representation is just as needed; ethnically and culturally diverse environments thrive in comparison to less diverse ones. But more importantly, when a child looks up and sees a successful and respected adult that looks like them, it not only gives them a sense of security in who they are, but it inspires them to aspire for success in their own lives as well.
For this reason, my focus in the Lower School particularly is to not ‘tell’ but to ‘show’ diversity. By doing so, we normalise diversity and individuals stop being defined and judged by their deviance from “the norm”, but start being celebrated for their individuality and uniqueness. Which, as I said in the first paragraph, is my primary focus as the ED&I Officer at Norwich School.”