Lunchtime sessions were organised by the BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) Network last week, as part of a programme to raise awareness of the richness of cultural diversity among employees.
Employees at three sites – Interchange, Bexleyheath and Barnwood – learned that Diwali is one of the most popular festivals in India where it is an official public holiday. After India, the second largest celebrations take place in Leicester – followed by London – where the lights associated with the festival are said to be visible from space! Traditionally, homes and businesses are decorated with lights during Diwali. Fireworks also form part of the celebrations and so a safety message relating to the safe use of fireworks was shared at all locations highlighting a safety link between Diwali and Bonfire Night.
Several sites were decorated with Indian silks and twinkly lights, and some attendees had the chance to sample Indian cuisine, try on a sari or have a delicate henna design painted on their hands. At Interchange, Riz Ahmed introduced Ruchiie Sehdev, from Supply Chain, who gave a talk about the traditions associated with Diwali. Ruchiie spoke of the cultural and religious aspects whilst reflecting on the importance of celebration at various cultural events.
Feedback from local champions showed that many people appreciated the awareness events.
At Interchange, Simon Baker, Finance Improvement Director, said: “Discovering other cultures is something I find refreshing, intriguing and it broadens my knowledge. It was a great opportunity to see the world from a different perspective, sharing a lovely Indian meal whilst hearing enthusiastic explanations of this popular festival.”
At Barnwood, Robin Elston, Head of Nuclear Generation Finance, said; “It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about this important cultural event and to understand how it is celebrated locally, elsewhere within the UK and across the world.
“I now have a much better understanding of what this event signifies and its cultural importance. I would encourage anyone to get involved in events such as these and to broaden their understanding of the different religions and cultures that make EDF Energy so successful.”
At Bexleyheath, Niels Roberts, Head of Back Office & Data Retrieval, said: “I thought it was a great initiative with a great atmosphere and those attending were obviously enjoying it.”