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Mother’s Day an inspiration for student’s range of diverse greeting cards

Published: 29 March 2019
Mother's Day cards by Avila Chidume
Avila Chidume has created a range of cards representing marginalised groups and ethnic minorities.

Southampton Law student, Avila Chidume, is hoping to overcome stereotypes and change the world’s perceptions – one greeting card at a time.

In response to a lack of diversity amongst the greeting cards she has gone to buy for her family and friends, Avila has created her own range of personalised cards, using her own original artwork, aimed at marginalised groups including those with disabilities and issues with mental health, people identifying as LGBT+ and ethnic minorities.

Her philosophy is simple – change society’s narrative from what it is now because what is happening right now is unacceptable.

“The norm in society is diversity,” continues Avila, originally from Kent. “Wherever you go in the UK, you always find diversity; no matter how small, it’s still there. And every person wants to feel part of the UK’s culture, but I don’t want my cards to be like ‘oh wow, is that a black person on the card? Never seen that before!’ I want it to be so normal that you just pick it up and say, ‘that’s me, that’s me and my family’ – cool.”

Mother’s Day cards are a good example of how buying the right card has proved nearly impossible for Avila in the past. “I love giving Mother’s Day and Father’s Day cards, but can never find something personal for my parents,” she says. “The earliest gift I can remember getting my Mum was a Happy Mother’s Day mug depicting a white mother and her kids which didn’t look like me or my mother, which is fine, but there was no personal element to it for me and that’s what I’m trying to bring out through my cards.”

A recent award of £400 from the Students’ Union Enterprise Fund has supported the development of Avila’s growing business which she hopes to continue to improve and expand by introducing other merchandise to the range. The Students’ Union created the Fund to support entrepreneurial and innovative students to develop and grow their ideas.

“I am trying to create something that goes against the mainstream depictions which don’t really represent the true, authentic realities that people are living hence the birthday cards that show young black kids in crowns, for example, to show that they have self-worth and self-value,” explains Avila.

“It’s not just race, gender or sexuality,” she concludes. “I’ve also focused on mental health, which is such a big topic and something that people are now beginning to acknowledge, but there is a lot of stigma about mental health and a lack of understanding and fear too, especially in different cultures including African households. The best and only way to remove stigma is by acknowledging the importance of representation.”

Avila’s range of diverse greeting cards – Avila Diana – are available here.

 

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In response to a lack of diversity amongst the greeting cards she has gone to buy for her family and friends, Avila has created her own range of personalised cards.

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