in solidarity

Never waste a good crisis

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It’s only because the calendar tells me that it is almost the weekend that I realize the working week is over. It seems my days are all the same. I am sitting in my office overlooking my roof top garden and watch it change slowly. I see the white daffodils and then it is the pink clematis turn to bloom while the palm tree shakes in the wind. The Oleander is starting to bloom and will be white. I don’t remember ever having such an eye for the details in the small garden but since the “intelligent” lockdown ,as our prime minister calls it, I have ample opportunity to care for and observe my roof top garden. Life is slowing down and sometimes I fear it will not be long before I will give in and start to have naps in the afternoon to break the day. It reminds me of my time in Afghanistan when I was cooped up for long periods of time. Every time there was imminent danger be it from earthquakes or attacks from the Taliban the work came to a full stop. Now the culprit is a virus and any human can be a deadly vessel for the virus. Mind blowing. The upside here is ,of course, that I am with my family and the internet streaming opera, concerts, musicals and courses. I did a philosophy course on Coursera with no costs involved and I try to do yoga each day. I still haven’t touched the rowing machine… but who knows.

Being an extrovert I need to talk to people to maintain my energy levels up. So I was happy to answer the emergency call of a team in distress at work. Wonderful – I can meet people even travel to meet them. Next step is to analyse where it went wrong and more importantly advise on what steps to take to start the teamwork flowing. Cooperating is extremely difficult in “normal’ times but under stress of the lockdown we have less distractions. Email and chat can easily lead to misunderstandings and conflicts as we all know. The report will be done next week so I will be eagerly awaiting the next team in crisis. For my sake of course, not for the team!

Meantime I am happy to have a virtual drink with my friends in Ireland and Scotland, chat with Israel and have Skype dates with Romania. I am looking forward to having more of those meetings. Even though the world, as we know it, has changed UWE has still made it possible to have friends all over the globe. It is a wonderful Idea of the UWE Board to ask us to write about our weeks at home and I am looking forward to reading all the stories.

Indeed, let us keep in touch and support one another now and in the near future. When the economic crisis really hits us, as we saw in 2008, it is women that suffer the most. They will suffer not only financially but in several countries the rights of women are being trampled on and it is being done almost overnight and all in the name of the crisis. So let’s stick together, cooperate and invest in turning the crisis into positive change for all. As the saying goes:I never waste a good crisis. Stay vigilant and let us use our contacts to influence the new rules and regulations that are bound to appear after a cure is found for the virus; and make sure women’s rights are respected!

Stay safe, stay healthy all of you!


Edith Lommerse

former president UWE


We are living through history!

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The little we knew about what laid ahead for the Year 2020 when we wished Happy New Year. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has been devastating, globally. With the casualties rising against an invisible enemy, war-chest opening, worrying press conferences, small businesses shuttering, and an over-extended health service, there has not been a positive news to come out of the pandemic, naturally!

There are many negatives of the current situation but looking at the positives, this shall pass soon. While practicing ‘social distancing’ we may feel stuck at home, but we are safe at home. We might feel bored or sad because we can’t see our family and friends, but the best things come from having the time and space to think and be creative. The future generation will study the time of Covid-19, learn how rainbows were a sign of hope and hear how everyone came together to cheer and clap for the amazing people who saved lives to keep the country going. A time where the world slowed down, polluted skies cleared, and animals reclaimed the spaces. A time when families spent time among themselves, met friends on screen, treasured their one-walk a day and got to know their neighbours. When schooling went online, parents became teachers and the world went a bit crazy to stockpile essentials! We are a part of history, so shall we create a time capsule?

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies! I am concerned and worried for the difficult and unprecedented times we all are facing. But, at the same time it has given me an opportunity to reflect and enjoy this unique time. A life-time opportunity, if I say so, we get once in 100 years! I am treasuring the 24/7 time with my girls and loving husband: be it home schooling, watching movies together, fun-dancing, living-room workouts with nations favourite online PE teacher, clapping for NHS every Thursday at 8 pm, trying new recipes, painting rainbows, creating tunes or making up a funny song, photographing random acts, skipping in the garden, working from home in shifts, video calling to extended family and to people we hardly had enough time to share everything before. It took a week to settle into the new routine. Interesting to hear the video chats of my 6 years old with her friend planning what games are they going to play when they meet! My younger one having no idea what is happening around and for few days after the lockdown started, she kept putting on her jacket and boots every morning pointing to the front door to go walk to school. Now, she is happy going only to the back door where we set up something new to play in the garden. I am fortunate and thankful to God for whatever I am blessed with. Many people in the world have their own struggles. To quote the British Chancellor’s concluding remarks at the press briefing when the nationwide lock down was announced by the PM (I wish him a speedy recovery): “Now, more than at any time in our history, we will be judged by our capacity for compassion. Our ability to come through this won’t just be down to what the government or businesses do but by the individual acts of kindness that we show each other.” Amidst all this, technology is playing the greatest role than ever before!

To all my friends across the globe: we have a key role to play while writing history, to make the best we possibly can, of each and every day.

Stay Safe, Stay Positive.

Together in solidarity,

Sudha Srivastava

Editor – British Federation Women Graduates