Credits: GIA

Vegan Schools Around the World: German International Academy Chennai

by | June 5, 2019

As part of an ongoing series of interviews and features with vegan schools around the world, Raise Vegan chatted with Prabha Manikkam, Curriculum and Resource Manager of the German International Academy of Chennai.

The German International Academy of Chennai is run on a strong philosophy around the intersection of minimalism and veganism. Their establishment believes in conscious consumption, in a world filled with obstacles and distractions, in embracing a meat-free diet. This along with upholding the evidence that the plant-based diet has created a great impact in ensuring a host of health benefits and creating an inclined array of changes in the student’s lifestyle. They view their academy as the perfect platform to advocate veganism and create awareness.

Vegan Schools Around the World: German International Academy Chennai
Vegan Schools Around the World: German International Academy Chennai
GIA Classroom
Credit: German International Academy of Chennai

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Vegan Schools Around the World: German International Academy Chennai

The German International Academy has a current enrolment of 60+ students and a staff of 30; around 12 of whom are vegan. The institute went 100% vegan in October of 2016, and as of the 2017-2018 academic year is a 100% Plant-Powered school.

Here are the excerpts from the chat.

Can you share more with us about the establishment of the German International Academy of Chennai as well as its location?

Prabha Manikkam: The Founders were convinced of the need for new approaches to education in India. They envisioned an educational climate that would foster the overall intellectual and emotional development of each student in every aspect of daily life. The founders have expertise in Holistic School Education, German Pedagogy, Organisational Development, and Human Resources Management.

German International Academy Chennai is located within a beautiful bushland setting in Palavakkam. Close enough to town to make it accessible, but far enough away to create a peaceful and special green environment in which the students can learn. We utilize this setting to place particular emphasis on awareness, respect for our natural environment and animals within our program.

Vegan croissants
Credit: German International Academy of Chennai

Can you share more about the food ethos at the Academy?

Prabha Manikkam: Our meal plan in GIA is creating a great impact by helping children learn ethical and sustainable eating habits. Our Chef works on stimulating the taste buds of the children by introducing lip smacking delicacies and also improving children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.

Credit: German International Academy of Chennai
Credit: German International Academy of Chennai

We are also committed to serving only fresh, local, seasonal, non-GMO food to our students. This has another long term health benefit for our children and at the same time promotes fair trade, which is another aspect we take care of in our education. Please find the sample meal plan enclosed below.

What is the core vegan ethos of the Academy?

Prabha Manikkam: Our school is a global microcosm with many different cultural needs, therefore our school meal policy not only reflect this diversity, but also incorporates the extensive research on the health benefits of plant-based nutrition. Also, the way we eat is the easiest and most impactful way we can alter our carbon footprint as a school.

We chose veganism to truly deliver our mission of sustainability in our overall operations; we found veganism, or the plant-based diet, as the solution.

As a holistic academy, we strive to develop all the dimensions of our students providing them with ample opportunities to develop their ethical, social, moral and personal intelligence. We emphasize on being conscious of the environment and to make responsible choices. Our future depends on protecting the health and well-being of our children and the planet. To do so, we must educate new generations with the skills to solve the global environmental problems we face. We hope that more schools will follow our path and will consume a less animal-based menu helping our earth become a more ethical, environmental and resourceful place.

The plant-based meals at our school help students establish healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Not only do these foods help students stay focused and energized in the classroom today, but they also reduce long-term risk for several chronic diseases.

What are some unique programs offered and aspects that set your school apart?

Prabha Manikkam: We offer, sessions with our rescued/companion animals please check this https://www.chennai.gis.

In addition, we teach Humane Education, human rights, animal protection and environmental ethics as supplementary subjects. Our students are trained to extend justice, kindness, and mercy to all living forms.

Do you know of other vegan schools? Let us know in the comments below.

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