PTW May 2021

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International Women’s Day Special

Kirat Randhawa, Diva Dhawan & Suzi Jamil Feature Interview

Liz Plank Award-winning journalist, author and the executive producer and former host of several critically acclaimed digital series at Vox Media and NBC News.



MAY 2021

CONTENTS Cover photo credit Sofala N. Knapton



The Information War An Interview with


Kirat Randhawa


The Future Timelines of our Planet Feature Interview


Liz Plank


WHY in the 21st Century are we not living more like the ancient days? An Interview with


Diva Dhawan Gardening Serenity


Bold To Bowl An Interview with


Suzi Jamil


Nana | Uganda


Are COVID 19 Vaccines Safe?


THE INFORMATION WAR EDITORIAL In the evolving world of technology, it is easy to take for granted how easy it has become to obtain information and assume it will always be available to us. This was not always the case. There was once a time where people would need to walk to an educational institution or a library to obtain a limited amount of information on any given topic or subject. One of the great houses of information in all human history was the ancient library of Alexandria. This library was more than just your local library. It was a museum, a place of study, and even a zoo. Ohio State University historians believe that at one time the Library of Alexandria held over half a million documents from Assyria, Greece, Persia, Egypt, India and many other

nations. Over 100 scholars lived at the Museum full time to perform research, write, lecture, or translate and copy documents. The library was so large it had another branch or “daughter” library at the Temple of Serapis. People from all around the world would come to see this marvel sitting in the harbor of Alexandria, and scholars would need to devote their time and stay at the library to learn and discuss academic findings and research. Shockingly, and sadly, between 48AD and 650AD, this library and all its contents was burned and lost. It is still unclear the exact date and cause of the fire, but what was certain is the information in that library was permanently lost.


“All the knowledge in the ancient world was within those marble walls… The destruction of the library is a warning to us 1,600 years later: “we must never let it happen again.” Carl Sagan

Parallel to this, the Dark Ages began, and often seen by some historians as being caused by the fall of the Roman Empire. Along with the fall of the Empire came another: the loss of knowledge. Libraries fell into disrepair. The unifying languages of Greek and Latin fell out of social use and people could no longer communicate with each other. With Rome no longer producing a safe environment for learning, philosophy, or science; nobody could keep up the Great Conversation, or make scientific discoveries. The architecture and learning and thoughts of the Empire were completely forgotten in the wake of its fall from greatness, plunging the world into darkness. Perhaps the fall of the Roman Empire provides us with a historical timeline for when the dark ages emerged, but it can be strongly contested that one


of the true causes of the Dark Ages was due to the loss of information, learning and understanding that had been cultivated for thousands of years until then, and destroyed within years. What emerged during that period? Famine, extreme climates, plague, and a major reduction or halt in global travel. In Carl Sagan’s series ‘The Cosmos’, he states, if he could travel back in time, it would be to the Library of Alexandria.

“All the knowledge in the ancient world was within those marble walls… The destruction of the library is a warning to us 1,600 years later: “we must never let it happen again.” Carl Sagan

The critical issue of information loss in the dark ages was not simply the loss of any information, but rather, the loss of quality information. Through the dark ages, information was still plentiful; however, this information was often based on the perspectives of rulers and conquerors rather than scholars; and a boom in misleading information and false understanding of the way in which the world works. Flat earth theories and many more ‘fake news’ stories became ‘fact’ of the time. In a world basing everyday decisions and making collective choices on false information, human progress was stalled by irreparable atrocities and a slowing of progress for hundreds of years in an era of Witch Hunts, Crusades, constant violence and extreme inequalities.

Moving 1500 years later, we have entered into an era where the thought of libraries burning down, or the risk of depending on a single ‘Empire’ is no longer the same concern. Even more, all the world’s resources are no longer in a single building in a city in Egypt, but rather, in the hands of millions of people around the world. Every time you turn on a digital device such as a phone, tablet or laptop, you are opening a library that is larger than all the paperbacks of the world combined. Every time you turn on a digital device, you can connect to any family or friend no matter where in the world they are. Every time you turn on your digital device, you can access news as it’s happening. Whilst most social progressions can take decades or centuries, progress on the access

to information has boomed. Since 1991, the internet has gone from 1 to 1.72 billion websites on the world-wide-web. So, does this mean we have surpassed the library of Alexandria? In quantity, yes; but what about quality? The library of Alexandria was contributed by scholars and academics to create references and a storage of important academic scrolls. The internet however is a vastly different landscape. The internet is a great demonstration of globalization – anyone in the world can contribute and add to the digital library. Not only can you contribute from wherever you are, but for the most part, you can contribute whatever you like.


FAKE NEWS Whilst this has its benefits, this great power does not demand great responsibility. Fields like medicine, law, science, and history; all at a university academic level requires research publications to go through intense protocols and procedures, followed by intense scrutinizing and reviewing for validity, quality, integrity, and reliability from experts in the given field before it is made available for anyone to read. Often years of work goes into a single academic paper. Meanwhile the internet is a platform that makes it easy for anyone to publish anything unchecked, unverified, unconfirmed, under any name. Information that can be twisted, fabricated, and crafted to push a political agenda, commercial investment, or simply a personal belief or opinion which an individual wants to be taken as fact.


There’s many people reading this that would say: “We’re adults. We’re smart. We can tell truth from lies. We know when things are made up”. Unfortunately, recent studies would suggest otherwise. A study published by MIT found that falsehoods are 70% more likely to be retweeted than truths. MIT also found in other studies that people may support information due to the person or group sharing the information, even if they know the information to be false. They also found social media algorithms create ‘knowledge bubbles’ whereby people are only exposed to certain information, or a single perspective, and not exposing them to the entire story or entire picture of a subject- thereby giving people a false reality of their own knowledge and understanding.

This issue is not just for adults. The UK Commission on Fake News and the Teaching of Critical Literacy Skills, run by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Literacy and the National Literacy Trust, found that only 2% of children have the critical literacy skills they need to tell if a news story is real or fake.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” Daniel J. Boorstin

One of the thoughts is to develop an ‘information police squad’ that would discern false information and flag websites or content as false through factchecking. This was deemed by MIT as more likely to exacerbate the issue with people believing anything that does not contain a fact-check warning must therefore be truth; coined the ‘implied truth effect’. When the volume of information entering the internet is exponentially increasing, the fact-police will never be able to keep up, and no algorithm would have the nuances needed of academic peer-reviewing. The logic to only have people of a certain expertise or academic proficiency create online content makes sense in the development of scholarly information, but realistically, this will never happen for the internet- a platform that is designed to democratize information and knowledge and allow everyone to have a voice. So what can we do to tackle this? Think of the internet like an earthquake. Whilst we cannot control the earthquake itself to any degree of confidence, we have learnt ways to control the impact of earthquakes. From this train of thought comes two emerging forms of literacy: digital literacy and media literacy. Media literacy

is a subject that aims to teach critical thinking in the process of navigating and reviewing media. It aims to teach not only critical thinking, but also teach people to become smarter consumers of products and information, recognize opinion from fact, and also teach people how to create media content responsibly too. Whilst not everyone can become an expert in every field, and whilst we will always be playing ‘catchup’ to people creating or spreading misinformation or false information, PTW hopes to start delivering education and support not only to grassroots development projects on media literacy, but also community engagement projects. Alongside our existing work on digital literacy, we hope to provide our current generation and next generation with the tools to navigate our modern world.

news’. Much like a vaccination, the only way to protect people from misinformation and false information is to give them a jab of knowledge and skills development that will hopefully protect themselves, and their community. Working together, as a community, taking responsibility to educate ourselves, and be open-minded to the process of quality information, will be the only way forward to bring peace and unity to what we often see as a divided and confused world fighting a war on information.

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

Albert Einstein

Chirag Lodhia Director | Positively Transforming World

In a new and modernized way, the world is yet again at a similar crossroads when presented with two options: to grow and evolve the ‘library of Alexandria’ and create a world of scholars and learned people, each furthering the collective progress of humanity through knowledge and understanding or turn back to the dark ages through false information, misinformation and ‘fake


KIRAT RANDHAWA Kirat is a UK-born meditation instructor and inspired student of Tibetan Buddhism now based in Brooklyn of New York city. Her personal journey and deep course of study has led her to craft a pathway to guide others in personal development, conscious exploration, transformational practices, and life’s shifts.


With qualifications from Columbia University and The Nalanda Institute, Kirat merges contemplative training with the field of psychology to identify how these practices can be used as instruments for individual and societal change. From her research at The Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia to working with underserved communities

across the city, she seeks to understand and deconstruct the multilayered conditioning that prohibits human flourishing. Her training at The Tibet House, MNDFL Meditation, and in the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction lineage has allowed her to develop a multidimensional approach to support clients on their path

An Interview with KIRAT RANDHAWA To watch and listen to the full sit down with Kirat Randhawa click here.

1. Tell us about yourself and what motivated you to a career in development, conscious exploration, transformational practices, and life’s shifts of others • being invited to navigate my own experiences without the proper resources I needed. I understand the importance of utilizing support during these experiences, and most importantly understand the power of community and empathic connection. I realized I needed a more compassionfocused refuge during my own experiences than concrete answers, per say, and I wasn’t able to find that anywhere.

2. Was meditation and mindfulness practices something that clicked with you immediately or was it an ‘acquired taste’? • it clicked immediately. I grew up in a very spiritual and religious household and found the inner world to be incredibly comforting. It was safe - and sacred. A space that I could rest in that wasn’t open for external access. I realize now that we all have these inner sources of comfort and support that are actually rooted in the same purity of awareness.

3. What was your journey like from the time you started practicing in meditative and mindfulness activities and how did this reflect into other aspects of your life? • I very quickly realized just how much I was suffering and that has been an ongoing discovery, really. When you seek to know the mind, you seek to know everything that is true for you including your pain - and that was a humbling experience for me. In my life, I experienced dissonance for a while after, trying to make sense of the world. After some time, I noticed an increase in thoughtfulness in the way I spoke, moved, ate, consumed, etc. It was a very overwhelming, lonely, yet necessary adjustment.


4. There’s a stereotype that people who practice meditation and mindfulness never feel angry, stressed or frustrated; what are your thoughts on this? • Haha, absolutely not true at all. Meditation has never been about controlling your experience or rather, curating your experience. It’s a practice that enables you to be with the entire scope of your experience with such spaciousness and understanding that it ceases to become a problem. That’s the long goal - yet we can experience tremendous benefit right now just by releasing the need to grasp onto or push away what may be arising. 5. There’s a view that meditation and mindfulness just involves sitting with your own thoughts and ‘doing nothing’; is this true? • It’s definitely not doing nothing and in fact, it’s tiring sometimes! Mindfulness is a way of being in relationship to your experience in an intimate way. It’s a way of familiarizing yourself with the range of your experience so that you can learn to better respond to it. With this stability in mind, we can begin to cultivate discernment in what leads to peacefulness and what leads to suffering, and align with those modes of behavior that feel freeing. In turn, we create space for the liberatory nature of the mind to shine force - a space of just deep, open awareness.


6. For those who feel the need to keep moving, living fast-paced, and struggle with patience to dedicate themselves to actively doing mindfulness or meditation. What are your tips and recommendations for people who feel this way? • We can really meditate in any moment - meditating is an acute orientation toward the truth of the moment, and to learn to drop into this truth despite the impulse to remain attached to the story about the experience. In turn, we can naturally sense and utilize the wisdom of the mind and body to act in ways that will result in more freedom. Formal meditation practice is crucial so setting aside some time each day to relate to the mind in a very precise way is a necessary step to developing mindfulness. Starting small is important, start where you are. 5 minutes a day and work your way up slowly. 7. How did you find COVID-19 lockdowns, social distancing and reduction in employment impact your existing clients who were already practicing in meditation and mindfulness? • I found that those who had a strong practice were less struck by the extremities of the global landscape because they were able to tap into something stable within themselves. That doesn’t mean they weren’t distraught or experiencing great distress, but rather that they were better able to manage it when it arose. They were less reactive and seemed unlikely to abide in existential doom.

“we can experience tremendous benefit right now just by releasing the need to grasp onto or push away what may be arising” 8. Were there a lot more clients trying to seek help when COVID-19 took hold of the world? • Yes, I saw an increase in the interest in mindfulness, meditation, and the healing path overall. Whether it was to reduce stress, cope with anxiety, or face the absence of meaning in life as we knew it, a lot of people knew that when the world returned to normal, they would want their life to be different.

9. For those who live in a city like New York, finding space can be quite challenging with people living in high towers, very busy and dense streets, and not as much natural open spaces; let alone being confined to potentially small living spaces. How can people make the most of small spaces to practice mindfulness and meditation if they normally like large outdoor, natural, open spaces?

10. What are your personal health and wellbeing goals for 2021? • More balance! I’m not someone who struggles with discipline or focus, and I’m focused on creating more room for rest, joy, play, and spontaneity. This applies to everything in my life - my food, my calendar, my travel, my work, and definitely my relationships. █

• Light and plants! Surrounding yourself with beautiful objects is such a wonderful way to feel inspired and uplifted by your space. This doesn’t require a ton of money either - they can be carefully chosen products that allow you to feel cared for.


The Future Timelines Of Our Planet In David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, he explains that scientists have predicted, if you were born today, you would be witness to the following:

The Amazon Rainforest cut down until it can no longer produce enough moisture, degrading into a dry savannah, brining catastrophic species loss, and altering the global water cycle

The artic becomes Ice-free in the summer, meaning that less of the sun’s energy is reflected into space, and the speed of global warming increases

Frozen soils thaw, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas manytimes more potent that CO2, and accelerating the rate of climate change dramatically




‘Rewild’ the World... 14

Coral reefs around the world die and fish populations crash under the increased temperature on global waters


Global food production enters a crisis as soils become overused, and pollinating insects disappear, whilst the weather becomes even more unpredictable


We are facing nothing less than the collapse of the living world. This is a series of one-way doors bringing irreversible change. Within the span of the next lifetime, the security and stability of the Holocene, our Garden of Eden, will be lost. The longer we leave this, the harder it will be to do something about this. None of us can afford for this to happen.

Our planet is 40Cwarmer, making large parts of the earth uninhabitable. Millions of people are rendered homeless, and a 6th mass extinction is well underway.

2100s Chirag Lodhia

The only way out of this crisis that we have created is to ‘rewild’ the world and restore its biodiversity by everyone educating themselves on what they can do, and take action.


Liz is an award-winning journalist, author and the executive producer and host of several critically acclaimed digital series at Vox Media and NBC News. She’s the CEO of Liz Plank Productions and is a columnist for MSNBC and has been listed as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Mediaite’s Most Influential in News Media, and Marie Claire’s Most Powerful Women, and was named one of the World’s Most Influential People in Gender Policy by Apolitical. From Canada, she is now based in the United States. She’s built a loyal following on numerous social media platforms, but her proudest accomplishment by far remains being blocked by the 45th president of the United States. Liz regularly appears on national and international television programs to provide a perspective on politics, gender issues, and reproductive rights, including The Today Show, The Daily Show, MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, Fusion, Al-Jazeera America and BBC World. Through her activism and creative approach to journalism, Liz has made it her mission to elevate the voices of those who are often not heard. Before becoming a journalist, Liz worked as a researcher and behavioural science consultant at the London School of Economics, from which she holds a master’s degree in policy with an emphasis in global gender politics.


An Interview with

LIZ PLANK To watch and listen to the full sit down with Liz Plank click here.

You cover a range of topics: Human Rights, Gender Equality, Racial and Cultural Equality and Awareness, Mental Health, Politics and International Relations; how do you keep up to date with all these topics and stay on top of developments and research in all these areas? I’m very lucky to have a community of very informed activists and informers. I trust my feed because I’ve spent years building it following a wide range of academics, social change movers, experts and artists that offer me a wide range of perspectives on issues pertaining to human rights, racial justice, gender equality and reproductive rights as well as disability rights. One of my favourite sources of information is actually a community on Twitter called #cripthevote. That’s where I find some of the most interesting


and under-reported stories from the disability community. Where did your passion for journalism come from and how has journalism and reporting changed from when you started in the profession till now? I actually entered journalism through the back door. It’s when I was completing my masters in gender theory that I got irritated because the vibrant and engaging conversations that we would have about gender equality would remain within the small academic community and I wondered how could we make this very important conversation more accessible to more people? That’s when I started writing and using the internet to find other writers and activists who were also trying to shift power structures, not just talk about doing it.

You’re accolades are numerous, yet your most proudest accomplishment is being blocked online by the recent American President who has left office in 2021; what makes this accomplishment stand out from the rest? It’s of course a joke that I’m prouder that I was blocked by Donald Trump on Twitter than being recognized in my field, however it is a badge of honor! I spent a lot of time on the campaign trail while I was working for Vox, reporting from Trump rallies, and pressing him on women’s issues at Trump Tower press conferences, but I never thought my persistence would eventually end in him blocking me. But would I do all those things again knowing I would be blocked by a world leader? Absolutely.


When writing ‘For The Love Of Men’, what were all the factors and inspirations that led you to write the book and take the approach/lens that you did, and since publishing the book, how have you seen the attitudes and perceptions of men (and women) changed? I wrote For The Love of Men because I’m interested in a conversation about gender equality where we measure success based on impact and the only way to truly attain social change is for everyone to be equal participants in this project. At the same time, I also don’t think it’s up to women to fix a problem that they did not create. Women, and specifically women of color, have been the ones shouldering the work of undoing the patriarchy for decades and I’d love to see men take responsibility for a system that’s not only killing their mothers, their daughters and sisters, but that’s killing them too. Different people can have different perspectives on what constitutes Feminism’ and what shouldn’t constitute Feminism; have you been challenged in this way on your work and your perspectives, and how do you mange such challenges to ensure everyone can work together to move towards a common and positive goal for all? I don’t think it’s a problem that we all have different definitions of feminism I think that’s a really good thing! There’s no one way to be a woman and every woman’s experience is different although we should all have a duty to understand how race, gender identity, sexual orientation, level of ability, and religion affects the way that womanhood is experienced. And ensure that the marginalized voices who have been at the forefront of this movement get the credit and amplification they deserve.


I’m in no place to define feminism for other women or frankly for people of all genders. That’s the beauty of this movement. It’s not about defining womanhood in a specific way, it’s about giving women the choice to express it however they want. Ultimately that’s what I want for men and boys as well. The quest for gender equality liberates everybody, regardless of what gender you identify as. The system that oppresses and kills women is the same one that hurts and kills men and boys too. Until they realize that their liberation is tied to ours the project of gender equality will never be fully actualized.

In regards to ‘Flip The Script’ which is challenging traditional/ conventional views people have about the world; what were some of the challenges you had in changing people’s perceptions and what are some of the strategies you use to help people feel comfortable changing their views on topics they might have deeply-rooted cultural or religious or social influences in? Humour is my secret weapon! Something about comedy is completely disarming and allows you to have conversations that would otherwise be really difficult. That’s what I tried to harness with flip the script and what I’ve tried to do throughout my career in journalism.

Photo credit James Barham

In regards to Human Rights and Feminism, from your time starting in research till now, what areas have you seen noticeable improvements in addressing long-standing issues, and do you feel more attention is required that currently is either not well understood or not being educated effectively? I think the biggest priority for any human rights movement is to center disabled voices because disability is often an after-thought rather than a priority. Now that we have all been at home forced into quarantine all potentially exposed to a deadly virus we all have a better understanding of how we can create institutions that aren’t ableist. Non-disabled people have no excuse. Why did it take a global pandemic for workplaces to fully accommodate virtual or remote working for everybody? People with disabilities have been asking for these modifications for decades and have been refused it. Now that we all had our mobility limited by something we did not choose, it should give everyone a better sense of why they should have listened to disabled voices this entire time. I also think the disabled community deserves an apology for being denied the progress they’ve been fighting for in the workplace.


“Why did it take a global pandemic for workplaces to fully accommodate virtual or remote working for everybody? People with disabilities have been asking for these modifications for decades and have been refused it.” How has 2020 and the COVID-19 impacts changed, not only how you conduct your work, but the specifics of what you’re trying to address or bring attention to? This pandemic did not create inequalities; it revealed them to us. It’s our responsibility to pay attention. This has been the most unequal economic crisis in history. Women and particularly women of color and those who are low-income or who are mothers and caretakers have been the most impacted not just financially but mentally. If we do not act now and have a gender lens on our policy making when it comes to this global pandemic we will be left with a global female suicide and femicide crisis. The numbers and the data are already pointing to this and I do not for the life of me understand why this the female suicide and femicide crisis is not a national and global emergency.


You’ve started the Podcast ‘Heart Homework’ to tackle the anxiety that comes with the high-paced and highdemand lifestyle of modern society; what inspired you to start this and what do you hope for listeners to get out of each cast? I think the news needs therapy! Because I’m committed to solution-based journalism as an ethos and a philosophy in my reporting, I wanted to launch a podcast that could help people process one of the most chaotic and stressful news cycles in a generation. What’s on your goals-list in 2021 and what did you learn from 2020 that you’re hoping to build on in 2021? I want to spend more time being and less time doing. So less to-do lists and more to-be lists.

What is a Positively Transforming World to you? For me it’s quite simple. It means focusing on solutions instead of solely listing problems. When you can offer a positive constructive framing to a story, you don’t just amplify all the wonderful people working to solve it, you empower the people watching that story to see how they can be part of the solution too. █

Photo credit D. Picard

21 21


WHY in the 21st Century are we not living more like the ancient days? A girl lives one week of every month a bit differently, which has a close emotional connection to her body. All my fellow women, girls, men and boys; have you ever observed a palpable tension in the air if the term ‘menstruation’ is openly used in groups or have ever seen someone diverting or transitioning to another channel if the TV flashes ads of sanitary napkins soaking blue ink to show how absorbent they are? It might not be obvious where you live, but have no doubt, I observe this behaviour in India! In India, as a female, you are not supposed to go to temple during your period, period! (Pun intended). Oh also, while you’re at it, don’t even touch any holy basil, avoid entering the kitchen, stay away from pickles, don’t tell or even discuss this with your father or brother… Hey! Hide your pad! Make sure no-one knows you’re on your period! Also, why didn’t you ask for black polythene while purchasing a sanitary napkin (pads and tampons)… don’t do this, don’t do that! And on-andon it goes! These are the few common society constructed restriction passed on to every generation in the form of heritage and cultural practices that must be followed by any female during her period in India. On any given day, every day of the year, there is likely to be approximately 500 million women and young girls experiencing menstruation, and for some reason, this occurrence is supposed to be something

socially uncomfortable, taboo, and shameful with superstition and linked to mystical elements that we are not allowed to question or challenge. Really? Why don’t we just see this as a normal and inevitable biological process of discharging of blood and mucosal tissue from lining of the uterus through the vagina, for anyone apart from the victim of these ‘so called’ curtailments? Does this make you uncomfortable? Some of the problems with these myths and superstitions are the loss of understanding over the centuries. Thousands of years ago in India, today’s beliefs were privileges and recommendations given to women during their periods as a way to protect women, the environment and the ancient version of ‘public health and safety’ in a time where sanitation products were not available.


Our Indian ancestors were not well equipped with all the required resources during periods like sanitary napkins, and they had issues of not being capable of handling one’s bodily needs and didn’t have pain medications and other remedies to manage what is often a very difficult week for women. In this era and this stage of civilization, it is rationale to advise women not to come in temples or anywhere outside while being in menstruation, and by giving the type of messaging they did, was to help make women not feel guilty about missing the opportunity to pray and show their religious or cultural devotion. As far as detachment from the kitchen and other daily activities are concerned, we should know that the normal daily physical activities for an Indian woman in ancient India included cooking for as many as 15-20 people (typically with no running water, electricity or appliances), taking care of her husband and children- all of which was a tremendous amount of physical activity and demand. Furthermore, I think it is agreeable that there is a health risk of having discharge and blood mixing with food easily when there were no sanitary devices available- which can lead to poor hygiene and the spread of infection. So, a women who is going through a period, also in pain and fatigued, was given 3-4 days forced break and not to be ostracized. Hang on…I thought the ancients were all


wrong? Isn’t this a great demonstration and a privilege of being taken cared for in a structured way? For all the flack we give the ancestors, maybe this mentality of realising the needs of women, and structurally putting things in place to make them feel comfortable and make them void of guilt and shame just for being a female, and make society feel the expectation to support them, is a good way to look at menstruation! It allowed women to rest, sit alone, and meditate, in order to feel better. When we think of it like this, it seems we have unfortunately got it all backwards! These old traditions were made to protect and care for women, not to deprive them. It’s a wonderful way to treat a women on her menstrual cycle and a great recognition of one thing society at that time tried to do for women. It is sad that with the passage of time over human history, with no proper documentation or rigorous record keeping or access to information, it has caused so many ‘traditions’ to be passed down in a way that has left our society lost of all the original purpose, meaning, logic and rationale. From the potential of being a caring, thoughtful, and conscientious tradition and social action, it has become a tradition that evokes discrimination, judgement, uncaring, illogical, and irrational fearmongering, that can leave women feeling ostracized, victims, and disadvantaged.

On the pretext of heritage practices, women do not have the same limitations as generations before us. For this I am grateful to be a woman alive today. Time has been changed with advancement of resources, medical science, and technology. We women have pads, tampons, sanitary napkins, health professionals and medications- all of which should be made available to every girl and woman if it is not already. We do not have the same work structure as we used to do thousand years ago. The reasons to prevent us from being in the kitchen, in the temple, and all the health risks back then, are no longer the same issues they once were. Modern medicine and modern technology has allowed women to understand the biological reasons and rationale for our menstrual cycles, and be equipped to handle their health needs.

Then, why do we need to follow these as rules of society? If it really is only about ‘representing and maintaining the cultures and traditions of our ancestors’, then why are some people in charge allowed to pick-and-choose? If we really want to represent and maintain ‘cultures and traditions’, then why don’t we look for the positive underlying intentions from days gone by and bring them forward whilst leaving the negative behind; and maintain the cultures and traditions that supported and nurtured women and tried to support women in the best way they could for the time, and better this with the advancements we have made? It is time we re-think what we have learnt from the ancient civilizations and truly progress in the 21st century. █

Samdarshni | Aspiring journalist and photographer PTW Grassroots Student, Magic Room Project



Along with VRTT, Diva is also the founder of ‘And Then We Stretch’online Pilates, yoga and movement based classes to educate, promote and share a healthy lifestyle with the world.




Diva Dhawan is the Co-Founder of VRTT Vintage. From New York herself and her Co-Founder from South Africa, the duo set up in Mumbai where they have built a community that is committed to take part in the fashion industry’s need for ecoconscious change. Their team of cofounders come with many years of experience between the fashion and start-up world, and VRTT is rooted in our joint passion for fashion and conscious consumerism.

An Interview with

DIVA DHAWAN To watch and listen to the full sit down with Diva Dhawan click here.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up in the fashion industry I was brough up in New York and studies at FIT in Fashion Merchandising Management. I was always the kind of person who had a set life plan: graduate; get a certain type of job; live in a certain type of neighbourhood in Manhattan; live in a bubble that all of us set for ourselves with, like ‘mental-checklist-goals’ for life. Everything took a turn when I was scouted by an agency from India called ‘Elite Model Management’. I always enjoyed the idea of modelling but always thought if I did it, I would do modelling in New York. I was attached to, and aware off the fashion and modelling industry in New York. India was never on the cards for me because I’d never been to India or walked in Indian clothes or knew many Indian designers, but once it took off, I was very lucky to rise and be very busy working. I never saw myself living in India, but you can’t control these things – they just happen to you. I’ve been working in the Indian fashion industry for over 10 years including modelling to hosting some of the biggest award shows,

being affiliated with certain brands and endorsements, to then starting my own company with my best friend called ‘VRTT’ Vintage. VRTT Vintage sells previously owned luxury good. With my 2 main passions: fashion and fitness, I also teach Pilates on the side on the Instagram account ‘And Then We Stretch’ (which is so much cooler than my own Instagram account). Did you feel there was a big difference in the way India’s Fashion Industry worked? Did you find the culture of the fashion industry was very different compared with America? The India of today isn’t the same India that I started in. The cafes where you get your almond milk from or the gyms that exist now, weren’t part of the India that I started working in. India was still developing these concepts from the West. In India they approached the fashion industry completely differently. Initially, India was still playing ‘bythe-books’, being the same rules instilled in Indian households and culture. They were taking from that and staying within those lines. There were only a few designers

who made and followed their own path. When I started I was the youngest girl to participate in a fashion week in Delhi called the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. It wasn’t the norm for a 16-yearold girl to be a model in India. Everything was ‘by the book’ with Indian parents. There was a mentality that you had to graduate, get a job, or get married. There was always talent, but today you see more people are outspoken and confident in what they create. Fashion, especially design, is a form of art, and it should be a form of expression, but when you are thinking with a particular culture or cultural stigma in mind, you’re creating only in a specific way. Now that people are willing to be more outspoken, it’s made a huge difference to the diversity and ideas in the Indian fashion industry. In a city like New York, anything goes; and that’s the beauty of the city. There’s no cultural norm in New York – we set the next trend and we do things out of the box that can be crazy; and the crazier the better. In India it was always the opposite, but now India’s reached a point where no f***ks given.


Tell us about VRTT Vintage and why you started that with Gabriella VRTT Vintage was started by Gabriella and I. We started the company and base the company in India The reason we chose India is that we saw a gap in the market for a second-hand-luxury-good platform. Anyone who follows second-hand luxury goods knows about Versatera and knows about Real-Real hese are platforms that ship worldwide. Anyone who lives in India and knows the import and export taxes here, knows it doesn’t make sense after a certain point to shop online. Indians also have a culture of ‘hand-me-downs’. If you have siblings or cousins from an Indian family, you’re used to being handed clothes down. It’s not just clothing; even gifts we so often ‘pay it forward’. The culture is built around the idea that, if you don’t like something, keep it in the packaging and give it to another relative; and that’s something normal that we laugh about in our houses.

For Gabriella and I, it was to be part of a more eco conscious luxury lifestyle. We’re both people who have travelled and lived abroad and we have no problem owning to the fact that we wear second-hand goods. In fact the first Chanel I ever bought was second-hand Chanel.

City Bike Near Bush Daytime

I’m not parading around telling people it’s second hand, but if someone asked me, I have no shame in saying that it is second hand. Once you learn more about fashion, a brand like Chanel can even increase in value with second-hand. There are many aspects to why we started this company. It’s making people more consciously aware of how you can contribute to a luxury lifecycle without being an activist. All of us want to shop, but we don’t always have to buy brand new. It’s also a way to educate on brand retail, the stores and past seasons clothing, whilst being more cost-effective too.


pieces that could be 10 or 20 years old that are great items, showing you can thrift and match new with old. How has the process been trying to bridge the perceptions and reservations towards the secondhand fashion market?

What kind of products have been the most popular in the secondhand market? The most popular brands were Louis Vuitton and Chanel. But then you have the Prada nylon bags that have made a huge comeback. India doesn’t have a Prada store in Mumbai, and some of these brands never go ‘on sale’, so being able to buy these products has a huge appeal. There are so many different brands along with so many different styles. People often associate a brand with a specific style, such as the Gucci belts or Celine with the luggage totes, but we would get such rare

The process is completely anonymous for people who are still uncomfortable with sharing their involvement in buying or selling second-hand, but the point is, if there is no use for the product for yourself, you might as well give it away rather than let it sit in your closet. Changing the attitudes towards second-hand clothing won’t change overnight and 2 people (Gabriella and myself) can’t change the culture alone so it is a work in progress, but the second-hand economy is growing and consumers are educating themselves more on where products are being made and how the products were made, and how conscious the company is on their ethos. We can only stand for what we sell and curate, and we are particular about the products we take, because we don’t want to add

more waste. Purposefully, you can’t use our platform for just ‘anything’, but we’re hoping to expand our brand this year and work with a few household names on some of the products that would otherwise send to waste. We’ve had to slow down because of the pandemic, but we’re expanding into men’s and children’s clothing. A lot is about educating the clientele, sharing the knowledge and learning side-by-side. It’s a passion project and we’re very open to seeing how we can help in some way. The second hand market is going to boom over the next few years. The amount of talented people I meet in any fashion category in India that is ready to make the change; and their educating themselves, travelling and collaborating with the right people, so it’s definitely going in the right direction.


When did healthy living come into your life? Being healthy and being active has always been part of my life. Growing up in the suburbs, if I wasn’t already playing in a school sports team or part of a school club, I was outside till the sun set. I think it has a lot to do with the way I formed my own routine and always being hands-on. For me, school was secondary. I couldn’t just sit in a classroom and soak in all the knowledge. I got a retail job when I was 15 years old to understand what it would be like to grow a brand, or run a store, or just do something in merchandising. I feel the same way about health and wellness. You play with things you’re interested in. I loved sports growing up. I was on the basketball team, played tennis, did karate, did track and field, swimming, piano; tap, ballet and jazz dancing. I don’t understand how I had time, but it was what I lived for – have any excuse to be outside. For me, nature is everything. Where did your passion for ‘And Then We Stretch’ come from? Once I started working, there was only so much I could do to stay on track with the things I once loved as a kid. I also started becoming less competitive in life so I never wanted to go into competition, but movement is something I enjoy. A lot of people are getting into meditation and using different apps which is great for the people it works for, but it never works for me. There are days I can meditate for an hour, but then there are days where I only have 5 minutes; but one thing that connects me to myself is movement. When I was 15, my teacher suggested I try Pilates. I got hooked to Pilates. It was originally designed to be for rehabilitation from injury. Though I didn’t have any injuries,


“I also didn’t want people to take working out so seriously. It shouldn’t come from a vain reason; it should come from something that connects you to it” it was something I felt was missing from my overall practice. It helped me develop my core strength and was amazed by how in-touch I was with my own body. Pilates isn’t going to be for everyone but everyone has a moment when they try something and realise that it’s for them. Then one time when I went back home, I got a Pilates certification. I also have a strong passion for dance and started mixing the two together, making my own workouts, and choreographing them. I always wanted to teach, but when I was in India, it was very hard to commit and become a full-time teacher because of the need to travel constantly; but during the lockdown it gave me time to work on it and with everyone home and stuck indoors, people responded really well to it because people needed a way to move indoors. I also didn’t want people to take working out so seriously. It shouldn’t come from a vain reason; it should come from something that connects you to it, which is why I say Pilates isn’t going to be for everyone. For me, I like to enjoy myself. I see it as something I’m doing for myself and taking time out of the day for myself.

What are some of the ways you stay healthy and prioritise for your health? What are your ‘top tips’ to keep on-track towards a healthy lifestyle?

weekend I’ll go with the flow. It’s hard to stick to the routine all the time, especially if I’m regularly travelling, but will always try to stay balanced and make it work.

I’m a morning person. I feel like, even if I must wake up an extra hour before anything starts, I need my time for coffee, to work out and do a mental check. I like to start my weekdays like that, and as Thursday hits, I get a bit more relaxed.

I would say, it’s important to spend at least 1 hour a day outside doing something active. It could be for walking, running, just getting outdoors and sitting. I think it’s important to have 7-8 hours of sleep

Basically it comes down to: you just need to keep moving, hydrating and eating healthy.

I’m mostly vegetarian but sometimes eat seafood. That’s not out of religious reasons. I stopped eating meat when I was 15 years old. I just don’t crave it. I just like to pay attention to what I like and don’t like. The one thing I trick myself into being deprived of is any form of dessert because that’s my one weakness.

It’s also worth getting ‘bloodwork’ done (blood tests) to find out any deficiencies you have, make sure you’re eating or taking required supplements or vitamins for any deficiencies and make a list of your favourite foods that are junk or unhealthy, and either control yourself if they’re in the house, or leave them completely for the weekend or a substitute mid-week splurge.

I love my wine, having a midnight snack if I’m watching TV late, but basically you can’t treat everyday like it’s your birthday. ‘And Then We Stretch’ social media page is my ‘inspo-board’ and reflects that. It’s not just about health and wellness but knowing it’s purely life to not have the best six days in-a-row, and knowing the balance between what’s healthy and what’s not.

I like to stick to a routine. I like to have certain plans and deadlines on a daily basis and be strict with it until the weekend. On the

For most people there’s no set meal times so you have to think about what you’re eating and why – are you eating out of boredom?

Because you’re hungry? It’s about having a conversation in your head and saying “I really want that piece of chocolate now, but if I save it for Thursday I can treat myself”. If you can’t do that, then maybe make the change from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. You have to find your level of discipline.



GARDENING SERENITY Bold To Bowl Being virtuous to nature is certainly beneficial. In other words, living with plants is to cultivate a piece of land and transform it into a magical colorful personal habitat either with herbs, fruits, vegetables, or flowers. There are several reasons that make people fall for gardening. A garden could be a place to tranquilize, idle and embrace time in joyfulness with nature for its amazing allure. In the garden, people tend to drop their thoughts around. According to Horace Walpole, all gardening is a landscape painting. Mother nature has the box of crayons! Gardening has the efficacy to offer good quality of life. From a health point of view, gardening can help as a form of physical exercise. People who spend time in the garden may enjoy aerobic exercise at the same time. Weeding, pruning, trimming, plucking, watering, clearing, moving or shifting pots will work the body muscles for strength and flexibility. By growing your own organic foods, you can help decrease the amount of global pesticides used as well as supporting the environment. Not only that, but buying organic from the groceries store can be costly. Organic home gardening can be an effective way to enjoy a bunch of

healthy vegetables and herbs without breaking the bank. Just start small and extend bigger when everything is perfectly hit to grow. Organic vegetables and herbs are highly beneficial for health. Organic produce has less exposure to pesticides and have great quality of nutrients and other minerals including vitamins, antioxidants and more. Gardening doesn’t need to be something you do alone. Group gardening provides mood boosting benefits. In fact it can be done among the young learners in school. It gives them an opportunity to learn beyond the classroom and their learning interest will be cultivated. Students have a deeper understanding of the life cycle, basic needs and stimulating social interaction. Nowadays, our community includes may children who prefer to stay inside with their gadgets. They choose LED light rather than sunlight. Gardening is an idle way for Vitamin D exposure to increase the calcium level for healthy strong bones and a good immunity system, whilst helping to grow our most important source of oxygen; but of course, ensure you are always sun smart!


Gardening is not only a great activity to help with physical and mental health, but can also have a positive impact on family relationships. In a global society that’s working at least nine-to-five, people are quotidian and lethargic, and many people struggle with work-life balance. For this reason, harnessing a small space in the backyard or on a balcony could be the blissful routine with the loved ones to help zone out of the frantic pace many of us find ourselves in. Parents could encourage their children in gardening with alacrity. Kids will be more jubilant and stimulating to get squalid, especially the young ones. Gardening provides an experiential learning. They may learn about the


new species of plants, responsibility and fundamentals of life. Other than accelerating their cognitive development, relationships with the parents, family and friends can grow just like the plants they nurture. As a matter of fact in handling financial issues, gardening could be part of the solution. People may ask if gardening is profitable and has the possibility to make money. Gardening can be the source of income but requires lots of time and energy. Think about the garden money-making ideas that require only personal gardening experience. For instance, growing microgreen and herbs for selling to vegetarians restaurants and markets

(within the commercial restrictions and health & safety requirements of your local area). Flowers that are vibrantly blooming can be sold to the florist shops. If you are a professional gardener, you may offer services as a gardening consultant and write an article to fill in the column in the gardening magazine or blog. It’s apparent that through the above benefits, home gardening is a holistic activity that I highly recommend. This practical life skill increases the capacity in self sufficiency, healthy living, networking, improving quality of life and dynamic economy. █

Noor Azamima Mohd Amin


SUZI JAM SUZI JAMIL SUZI JA Suzi Jamil is the Owner and Director of Think Inc., an intellectual-focused touring company based in Australia. From the Western suburbs of Sydney herself, Suzi has made it her mission to bring the world’s greatest minds to the country she calls home, in an effort to spread knowledge and enlightenment on topics of science, politics, race, religion and social equality. Among her guests are the likes of Sam Harris, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Dr Jane Goodall, Brian Greene and Richard Dawkins, to name but a few. Suzi is a producer of the film ‘Islam and The Future of Tolerance’, starring Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, released in December 2018. With Think Inc and the inspirational events and conversations that come from them, Suzi hopes to see a shift in global consciousness, allowing rational debate between an informed population on the issues that require the focus of our best and brightest.



An Interview with

SUZI JAMIL To watch and listen to the full sit down with Suzi Jamil click here.

What motivated you to start Think Inc and what were your initial ideas for Think Inc? Has it changed significantly from your own initial ideas? I started Think Inc. because I wanted to bring intellectual ideas to the mainstream. Back then being intelligent wasn’t really ‘cool’ and I wanted to change that – I saw a massive opportunity in the touring market to make important ideas from smart people part of popular culture, and so I started the company.


I’m proud to say that around four years into our journey we helped make geeking out over brilliant minds a thing, and now our mission has shifted to raising rational discourse in our society. We’re here to bring your favourite smart person Down Under; for you to see them in the flesh and be inspired enough to go out and change the world, because if they did then you can too. Growing up, were topics such as science, politics, race, religion and social equality a strong part of your education, both formal and informal? How has your views on these topics changed from the time you were in school to after school?

I’ve always been obsessed with humanities subjects! I remember being 15 years-old staying up well into the night learning about stuff like Russian history, Chinese political systems, communism and dictatorships. I especially loved learning about history and got my hands on as many books as I could on the topic. I was also hugely fascinated by religion. My dad was raised Muslim and my mum was raised Christian, but I found my own atheistic path and that journey took me on a road of learning about people, cultures, and belief systems. Obviously, this obsession has become a large part of my career. As long as I can remember, the way I think and approach problems has been tied to science, rationality and evidence. I was that kid that never believed in Santa Claus. I loved taking things apart just to see how they were put together in the first place, I lovedscience camp and doing experiments... honestly, I think I am the biggest nerd I know—and I’m proud of that!

Science and social science are equally interesting and important, but each for different reasons. Science is one of the most important channels of knowledge. It has a specific role, as wellas a variety of functions for the benefit of our society: creating new knowledge, improving education, and increasing the quality of our lives. Social sciences are important because they create better institutions and systems that affect people’s lives every day. These studies provide a better evidence-based groundingfor evaluating our social and political world. Clearer evidence and greater knowledge can help strengthen institutions by providing data for policy outcomes and better mechanisms for promoting civic participation and engagement. I believe that in order to be a well-rounded human you should always seek knowledge and having broad take is more interesting.

Why do you feel areas of science and social sciences need a strong focus in formal and informal education?



The next 4 questions are based on Think Inc being a foundation ofcreating a community where ideas can be shared, challenged, voiced and became a champion of democratising learning.

What does it mean by ‘democratising learning’ and why does learning need to be ‘democratised’? When I say we want to “democratise education”, I mean that all people should have access to knowledge and learning. All people should have access to being inspired. It means allowing an even playing field for people to gain knowledgeand be inspired. Imagine if all people had access to education and knowledge. We would be building and creating at greater speeds and more creatively than we already do. In many parts of the world, the notion of challenging and voicing ideas is becoming increasingly controversial and polarising, with many people feeling that some ideas should never be challenged, and some ideas never voiced. Do you feel it is important to voice and challenge any idea, regardless of how controversial it may be; and why? In general, for all people, it is crucial to stand up for what is right. This itself is a challenging idea, regardless of your political stance, your moral guidelines or your perspectives, it’s hard to stand up for what you believe in. We need to always try to be courageous when it comes to standing for what’s right. It’s crucial to society to challenge ideas and push them to their limits. As an individual I constantly

challenge my own beliefs and try to see alternative perspectives. At Think Inc. sometimes what we do is controversial, but nothing that we do is done on this basis. I carry a big responsibility when it comes on deciding who to tour and whose ideas will be the those that lead the industry. I don’t take that responsibility lightly, but ultimately, it’s the people that decide who they want to see on stage, and they vote through buying tickets and coming along to the show. Many ideas are polarising. Many of them we want to turn away from, especially if they don’t fit with the confirmation bias that many of us are seeking. But how can we bridge the divide in society if we don’t listen closely and hear alternative perspectives? If we don’t conversate about major issues we will only create more opportunity for violence, and that is not the answer. Is there such a thing as a ‘dangerous’ or ‘damaging’ idea and how should these be managed or dealt with? This question needs to be contextualised. Certainly, an idea can be dangerous and damaging to oneself or to others if acted upon. It can also be dangerous and damaging to not act on ideas. So, it all comes down to context. All




perspectives should be discussed openly and with a basis of reason and evidence. A conversation of ideas is the only way we will be able to understand, as a society, what we think is right or wrong. I think oftentimes people forget that we, as the populace, are the most influential in deciding what we think is right or wrong. Think Inc has provided a platform from leading experts, academics and pioneers in a whole range of scientific areas. For you personally, what area of science/ social science do you have the strongest personal connection to learning about and why? My strongest personal connection is to areas of social science like religion and mindfulness. In 2016 I toured of Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, and in 2018 I toured Richard Dawkins. Both these tours spoke to how we as humans navigate and consider the world, breaking down the frameworks we use to make sense of what’s around us – something I find fascinating. I also loved understanding the history of social justice, and my tours of Dr Cornel West have undoubtedly changed my life. Often the reason I tour these brilliant individuals is because they’ve made me see the excitement in topic areas I never considered before.


When people attend Think Inc events, what do you hope people will get out of the conversations and discussions of those events, and what do you hope listening to a conversation or engaging in a presentation will lead to? The goal is to have people have walk away feeling like they have not only learned something from the time they spent at our events, but also that they are now prepared to go off and make an impact in their own worlds. I hope that they will have a conversation starter; they will have the fire in their bellies to talk to others and, where they


can, make a positive change. How do you keep an open mind and stay balanced or objective when listening to many different ideas and views? I work on this every single day because I know how important it is to have a broad perspective. I actively try to surround myself with people who have different opinions to me and aren’t ‘yes men’, from my staff, to my friends, to my mentors. It helps keep me grounded and aware that my viewpoint is just one of many. I also consume media from different sources and of

different political leanings. It keeps me from getting trapped in filter bubbles. What’s the next big area you hope to tackle and cover with Think Inc; and why? We’ll soon be launching an education platform which I can’t talk too much about but keep your eyes peeled for that! What’s the next area you want to venture into learning more about for yourself; and why? I am currently on the journey of self-growth and discovery. Learning how to manage relationships, how to manage emotions, and life issues. Tending to my own garden. █



NANA | UGANDA My name is Kyeyune Nana Nabilah. I am thirteen years old and I go to Viva College School. I am in senior one. My experience so far with the Positively Transforming World mentorship program has been great, it has helped me gain more knowledge in specific fields and careers. It has also given me the opportunity to learn about some things we don’t get to learn in Ugandan schools. It has aided me in knowing how to set our set our smart goals and how to prepare myself to achieve them. At the beginning of the program, I did not really know what career path I wanted to take. However with further discussions and classes, and my love for technology, I discovered that I would like to code one day. Positively Transforming World helped me get a more clear understanding of the career path I would like to take and that is the software engineering industry. Having such mentorship classes helps me realize my goals and work towards achieving them. I therefore look forward to learning more from the mentorship class. I hope I'll achieve that goal. I take this opportunity on behalf of my fellow colleagues undertaking the mentorship class to thank The Ripples Foundation together with Positively Transforming World for bringing us together on this journey and giving us a tremendous opportunity that will help us effectively achieve our goals in life. Thank you

Kyeyune Nana Nabilah Viva College School | Senior One class.



Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe? The past year has been a complete whirlwind for the entire world as communities fought to protect citizens against the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen the implementation of lockdowns, state restrictions and 14-day quarantines to combat against COVID-19.

natural infection that your body will create an immune response that will be able to fight the real thing! E.g. MMMR (measles, mumps and rubella)

However, in more recent times Australia has the opportunity to fight and protect ourselves from this virus with vaccination.

Subunit/recombinant/conjugate - these vaccines use specific pieces of the germ. E.g. Hepatitis B

Firstly, what is a vaccine? Well, a vaccination: a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases. There are many different types of vaccinations. Here are some examples of a few them: Live attenuated - these vaccines expose your body to weakened forms of the virus. They are so similar to the

Inactivated - these are the killed version of the germ. E.g. Hepatitis A

Viral vector - vaccines that use a modified version of the virus mRNA (messenger RNA) - these vaccines deliver instructions for making a viral protein to our cell that can fight the virus. For COVID-19, the 2 most commonly known vaccines available are the Pfizer and the AstraZeneca vaccines. There are a few differences between the two vaccinations:



mRNA vaccine

Viral vector vaccine

2 doses

2 doses

Stored in -70C

Stored in regular fridge temperature

Efficacy 95%

Efficacy 61-90%


Now, possibly the most asked question in regard to the COVID-19 vaccination: is it safe? In short, yes. Both these vaccines have been approved by international therapeutic goods agencies. These approval processes involves a serious of rigorous safety checks: Stage 1: Pre-Application - the TGA will assess the application against a criteria including clinical data and need. Stage 2: Application - to register, the sponsor will need to submit superficial information on clinical studies, chemistry, manufacturing and risk management Stage 3: Evaluation - once accepted, a formal evaluation process will begin with external experts Stage 4: Decision Stage 5: Registration Stage 6: Monitoring - even after the vaccine is available, there are procedures in place to continue to assess and monitor issues with vaccines


And even before a vaccine reaches the stage of approval for use in any country, it will need to go through various clinical trial phases. Given the rigorous and detailed trials and processes needed, it is with strong conviction that the COVID vaccines, and any other vaccine that you can have now are safe. Instead, perhaps the focus should be shifted away from the inquisition of its safety and more towards the importance of the vaccination rollout. Vaccinations protect our communities on two different levels; personal immunity and herd immunity. For herd immunity to be established we require 70-90% of our community immunized. It is not enough that we rest on our laurels and expect others to be proactive in being vaccinated. So to conclude, I urge everyone to roll up their sleeves and encourage others to do the same. Whether you are on the frontlines fighting this cause or have been personally affected by the mass detriments of this pandemic, vaccinate yourself and protect your community. █

Christine Gan

“Whether you are on the frontlines fighting this cause or have been personally affected by the mass detriments of this pandemic, vaccinate yourself and protect your community.”

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