Global Health Advocate & Advocacy Consultant, Agnes Nsofwa speaks with Ruhee Meghani about Sickle-Cell, a type of medical condition that Agnes works to advocate and promote awareness about after her daughter was diagnosed.

More information:

https://agesnsofwa.com.au/ 
https://aussicklecelladvocacy.org/

Support & Donate to Sickle Cell Advocacy organisation: 
https://aussicklecelladvocacy.org/donate/

Tickets for upcoming women’s events in Perth.
Sydney 

Books by Agnes can be purchased here:

Transcript

Note; This transcript is automatically generated and may contain errors.

Ruhee Meghani: My name is Ruhee Meghani. My pronouns are she and her. And today we’re gathering on the lands of the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung people of the Kulin nation, also known as Melbourne, Australia. I acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded and it was and always will be, Aboriginal land. Um, the founder of Allied Collective, an inclusive facilitation and wellbeing agency. I’m a public speaker, a storyteller, a yoga teacher, and today is a very special day because I’m speaking to Agnes Nsofwa. Agnes, I’d like you to introduce yourself. Who is Agnes?

Agnes Nsofwa: Well firstly thank you so much for inviting me. So I’m Agnes Nsofwa, Zambian born who migrated to Australia about, I think close to 20 years now, turning ten years in Melbourne. Firstly, I’m a mum. I’m a mum to four beautiful humans and one fur baby. I’m also a wife to my lovely husband. I’m a registered nurse by profession, but before that, I’ve worked in the business world. I used to work for NAB, I worked for Westpac, and I worked for the taxation office back home in Zambia. And I did a bit of taxation work here with one of the taxation agents. So pretty much that’s me.

Ruhee Meghani: Amazing. Thank you for being here. We met on LinkedIn, actually, you reached out and you were organising the Sickle Cell Inaugural Conference Ladies Self-care Gala, and you very kindly asked me to speak about wellbeing and women and how it’s so important for us to look after ourselves as women. I have to confess that I didn’t know what Sickle Cell was at the time. But thanks to you, I do know now. So for the listeners who are witnessing this podcast, can you elaborate or explain to us what sickle cell is?

Agnes Nsofwa: When I’m on LinkedIn, I’m connected to so many people. I didn’t know that I was connected to you. I don’t know how we connected to each other. I think we share 1 or 2 things. I founded a sickle Cell organization, which is an organization that supports people living in sickle cell disease. So sickle cell disease is a rare blood disorder, rare in Australia. Let me emphasize that it’s a blood disorder that affects the red blood cells. So for people who don’t have sickle cell disease, they are red blood cells are made in the bone marrow. And they last about 100 days to 120 days. But for somebody who has sickle cell disease, their red blood cells are deformed. They start deforming from the time they are made up to about 20 days, they are completely deformed and they turn into a shape like a half moon or a banana or a sickle. So a sickle is a farm to that’s used usually to cultivate like sugar cane. And that’s where the name came from. So with that, if the red blood cells are deformed, obviously we know that the red blood cells in the body are used to carry oxygen to all parts of the body, but when they are deformed, that, uh, you know, facility or the job they are supposed to do is impacted.

Agnes Nsofwa: So people get anemic because they don’t have enough oxygen. And also the red blood cells are deformed, so the blood is replenished. But also when the cells and this is the most, uh, impacting part is that when the cells are, uh, deformed, they are not going smoothly into the blood vessels. So they get they get stuck usually in the, in the, in the joints, but also in the brain. But they can also get stuck in the chest. And so people can have a stroke when they are stuck in the brain. People can have a lot of pneumonias or different, respiratory infections in the lungs, but also a lot of pain in the joints. This is and pain is one of the most it’s actually the most common symptom or complication of sickle cell disease. So it is a very, very severe condition, fatal in in most places even here, but uh, predominantly in, uh, southern Africa where the children are dying even below the age of five.We don’t have a pharmacological cure. The only cure is a bone marrow transplant, and which is very limited, which I can talk about.

Ruhee Meghani: It’s seems like such an important conversation to be had. And how do you get diagnosed and how can it affect the life or the lifestyle of someone who’s suffering from this disease?

Agnes Nsofwa: It’s a genetic condition. Firstly it’s a genetic condition. So you can only have it if, uh, your, your parents either have the disease or the parents carry the recessive gene. In my case, I didn’t know. And this is how I got affected. Our daughter has it. Our youngest daughter. We didn’t know that we had the gene until our youngest daughter was born. So the symptoms that she had were just bizarre. Because I’ve got four kids and she’s the youngest, so she she used to have, uh, swollen joints, a lot of crying. She was young. We didn’t know why she was crying. A lot of pneumonias until she had the third one where the lung collapsed. And that’s when we got the diagnosis through a blood test. So it’s organized through a specific blood test. Once they get it, then they pretty much start managing. So there’s no cure, pharmacological cure, they’re just managing the condition. So the managing sort of the pneumonia, the side effect, they can manage the pain. They can manage the infections or the complications that come with sickle cell disease. So it is connected to malaria. So those people that are have got the ancestors in malaria impacted areas like southern Africa or India or the Mediterranean. The thing about sickle cell, what the scholars say is that a long time ago, the red blood cells were sort of protecting itself from malaria in the body. So they started, um, breaking the red blood cells because the malaria parasite, the host in the body is the red blood cells.

Agnes Nsofwa: So when the body started fighting, it started breaking the red blood cells. It got rid of one thing saying that if you are you are somebody with a sickle cell gene, the malaria won’t affect you as bad, it won’t be as severe as compared to somebody who doesn’t have the gene. Yeah, no, you will have malaria, but it won’t be that severe. And that’s in my case. But the down part or the the flip side of that is that the body was now, uh, you know, susceptible to having sickle cell disease. So it’s a genetic thing. Two parents have to have it. So the only way you can know is getting tested, right. Um, and also by maybe newborn screening or prenatal screening, some women, we are fortunate in Australia that, uh, they are told during pregnancy it’s, it depends which hospital is, uh, testing for. But also when babies are born, they can be told if they do the newborn screening. At the moment, there’s no newborn screening in Australia for sickle cell. That’s what our organisation is fighting for. We’ve applied for that for the in the past three years. Hopefully we get an answer in the next few months, so you can only know if you get a specific blood test and you can do that through your GP or through the hospitals. And in Australia, if you’re an Australian resident, permanent resident or humanitarian visa. That test is free under Medicare.

Ruhee Meghani: Good to know. And you’ve taken, one movement and you call it the sickle cell advocacy. Now I want to talk more about the advocacy part. And like you mentioned, it’s personally affected you in your life. Can you tell us? How is it affected you as a person, as a mother, as a wife, and as an advocate? And what inspired you to tell your story and to form such a movement that is raising so much awareness and saving so many lives?

Agnes Nsofwa: Yeah. So as I said, um, I’ve got four kids. Our youngest daughter, when she was born, it actually started with me because I have the sickle cell gene. What we’ve read is that, you know, when the body is, is, uh, when you are pregnant, you’re sort of, uh, susceptible to having different infections and all that. So when I was pregnant, the gene that I have, the sickle cell gene sort of manifested, and I started having, um, symptoms like a sickle cell patient. I was in pain, I had infections, I was in hospital for almost two months with this condition that the doctors didn’t know about. They did all the tests. They didn’t know. They did know that I have the gene. Then they came and asked me if I have sickle cell disease on our family. And I said no, because I had no idea then and then my husband also, they didn’t even bother actually to ask my husband. So when my daughter was born, you know, as a mom of four healthy kids, we had never been in hospital. There was just that thing at the back of my head. I was telling my mom and my my mother, I know that something about her, her tummy was big and she used to drink a lot of water. It can be good. But for her it was too much. After about maybe three months, she started having this pain. Like she started crying. So I assumed now that she was in pain. And then she had swollen fingers, which is also a symptom of sickle cell disease.

Agnes Nsofwa: When I came to learn about it. Then she had the pneumonia at seven months. At 12 months? At nine months, again at 12 months. At 12 months. That’s when she had the nasty one. They call it acute chest syndrome in the sickle cell. Uh, complications. She had the left lung collapse. And then we had to do all these running around different hospitals. Took her to the children’s hospital. That’s when they found out that they had sickle cell disease. So that’s when it came back to us. Now, the questions asked, did you said you had, uh, you know, do you have sickle cell disease in your family? This was a children’s hospital at the women’s hospital when I was pregnant. I said, I didn’t know even at the children. I was like, I don’t think so, but, you know, it’s not we don’t have. Then we ask my mom. She was like, uh, no, actually, um, because my mom is an only child on her father’s biological, uh, biological father, that line of family, they all had it. So what we think is my great my grandmother didn’t have the, um, the the sickle cell, but my grandfather had the gene, so my mom has the gene. So when that it also manifested in me and some of my siblings were tested later on. Then we also noticed that on my husband’s side, the sister has was having complications, and the doctor told them that she has a form of sickle cell disease or of the sickle cell gene. So now we determined that we have sickle cell gene in our family. And that’s when we agreed because I refused.

Agnes Nsofwa: I’m like, no, the diagnosis you gave me at pregnancy, they said I had some form of rare blood infection. So I said, no, that’s what I should have because I had the same symptoms when I was pregnant. So after that, then we realized that it was very, very rare in Australia. That was 15 years ago. She was born in Perth, and we just started the first five years were hard, mind you, it took me five years to start talking, even to family. People didn’t even know sometimes that I’ll be in hospital for weeks and. And my husband works away sometimes I had to sleep in hospital, leave my daughter with the carers, drive home, take the other kids to school, go back like that. Five years later, I decided to have the courage and start talking about it. I started with social media and later on we formed the Australian Sickle Cell Advocacy. When people started contacting me that I’m on in Australia, I also have sickle cell or my daughter has sickle cell, but at the time it was very difficult for me to do anything because an individual so myself and a few others in Melbourne. In Melbourne we decided that let’s form a not for profit with no experience at all. We had to Google how to register an organization, and we started that formal organization in 2018, the informal one, the informal support was 2014. So 2018 we had a formal not for profit organization called Australia and Sickle Cell Advocacy.

Ruhee Meghani: That’s amazing. And there’s so much in that where storytelling can lead to so much change, not within just your own life, but have a domino effect on other people’s lives. Yeah. When it comes to multicultural communities in particular, is there a challenge, I guess, that you see with your experience in this advocacy space that. There’s something missing or something that needs to be done for multicultural communities?

Agnes Nsofwa:  I don’t know about your background, but like for me, as an African from an African background, we tend not to talk about these issues. It’s in your home and that’s stigmatized. That’s why for me, even at the beginning, it took five years because you are told, you know, your issues are your issues. You don’t talk about health, you don’t talk about these things. It’s taboo. So it’s been very difficult. And but you are slowly breaking those barriers. So we tend to and this is why you see that, um, unfortunately sickle cell disease having uh, being affected, most of them are African from an African background, sub-Saharan Africa, people don’t even talk about the fact that they have that condition, a fear of being obviously stigmatized. But also,just employerseven in this day and age, they will tell you in your face that we can’t employ you because you have this condition. One of the symptoms for sickle cell disease is, you know, you are anemic, so you tend to be tired. You tend to get time off work. We’ve heard stories a lot, especially on social media, where, you know, they are told in their face that you can’t be employed because of this and that. And it’s not even in Africa, sometimes even in America, because a lot of African Americans are also affected.

Agnes Nsofwa: We are talking about, you know, the scholars say 100,000 that’s been over 4 or 5 years. So maybe you are saying maybe 150 to 202, two, 200,000 people in America were affected. So we see that there’s that. And also unfortunately, because it affects this color, there’s um, there’s been a long time ago, things are changing. But before that, sickle cell disease wasn’t really looked at as a condition that people sort of did a lot of research. It took almost 20 years to find a drug specifically for no, no, sorry, 90 years to have a drug specifically for for sickle cell disease. And that drug was just a, by the way, which we call a repurposed drug. What happens to to the body with the red blood cells in the body when you are born? The first about 6 to 4 months, we have what we call fetal hemoglobin, that hemoglobin is not affected by sickle cell disease for whatever it is for science, only God knows. So what the what? What the. That the doctors, what they found out there’s this drug called hydroxyurea made for cancer patients, specific cancers. So when these people who had cancer were taking this drug, they saw that that fetal hemoglobin started,  waking up in the body.

Agnes Nsofwa: Yeah. It’s it’s, um, the adult hemoglobin from about 7 or 6 months or so. That’s what you and I have. But when those people take started taking that drug, that dormant fetal hemoglobin started waking up in the body. So they realized that, oh, if even even if you have like 20% of that fetal hemoglobin in your body, you are not as affected as somebody who has normal adult hemoglobin. So the doctor started doing a clinical trial, uh, I think in the mid 90s. And they didn’t even finish phase three, phase one, phase two. They stopped because it was very successful. And that drug became the the like the sickle cell drug almost over I think 90 or so years. And that’s what’s being used all over the world even up to today. It’s the number one drug. It’s called hydroxyurea. And then after that, um, after maybe 2 or 3 years, there was another drug that came out. It’s a glutamine called Endirey. And then in 2000, I think 19 or.19, 17 or 19 somewhere there. Don’t quote me on the years another two drugs came up. So just in the 2000, late 2000, 19, that’s like, you know, maybe 3 or 4 years ago.

Agnes Nsofwa: So there was no much research, obviously. And you can Google this. I speak about this. I tell people that go and Google a lot of scholars try to compare, sickle cell disease with cystic fibrosis, which cystic fibrosis predominantly affects, uh, Caucasian people. And sickle cell disease predominantly affects people of color. So you’re going to see that we have so many, I think 7 or 8 drugs for, cystic fibrosis. And we only had this one drug for, for people of color. And then now two drugs that came up. So all in all, we we can say like 3 or 4 drugs. One of them is a question mark because it failed the phase three, which was supposed to come to Australia. It failed. The phase three is coming off the market. So people say because of this, multicultural people that are affected, we tend to be on the down part of the ladder that, you know, even the scientists and the doctors, if you Google again, especially on Facebook, you see the way the people are treated. A lot of videos in this day and age, doctors are being filmed how they are treating these people who are in pain, they call them drug addicts and all this and this is out there.

Ruhee Meghani: Yeah, when we talk about systemic racism. Yeah. And medical racism in itself. Like, you know, I read this fascinating thing where in medical school, they’ll give examples with pictures of skin disease and what they look like, and often the skin disease manifesting on white or pale skin. And so doctors are being trained not to recognize that same skin condition, which can look very different on a darker skin, darker skin. And that can lead to so many additional problems.

Agnes Nsofwa: – Misdiagnosis, Yeah, exactly, and even missing them. Missing it. You know, if, if I go in like say with measles and something and they don’t see it. Yeah. It won’t be diagnosed because maybe the doctors are not trained to see that, you know, the black or the darker skin. This is the way it’s supposed to look. Yeah. So that’s the most unfortunate part. So you see that even in advocacy for us as an organization, that one, I’m a person of color and I advocate for people of, of color, the condition that affects mostly people of color. It’s been very hard for us. It’s been very hard. We’ve this is almost our maybe 10th year. We don’t get support at all from the federal government or the state government. Nothing and and grants is very, very difficult. So you see, which again, I tell people our records are public records. You see that all the time. Every year I put in my own money, maybe ten, $12,000 just to make the organization running. But also on the global scene, you see that I can recognize that things are changing for the better. Good. We have, uh, things, uh, organizations like the Clinton Foundation, we have, um, which are the organization, these big, big names like Mark Zuckerberg and other big organizations that are funding research in sickle cell disease. So there’s light. Yeah, there’s so much talk about research in, in sickle cell that right now, um, you know, there’s also gene therapy that’s coming on as a cure.

Agnes Nsofwa: So the the number one cure is a bone marrow transplant, which by the way, I will just go back and tell you that, uh, as I was advocating to have this organization in Australia, in our in our family, we are advocating for our daughter as well, who had the nasty, nasty symptoms. She had surgeries. She had to have her lung part of a lung taken out, tonsils, adenoids, spleen, different surgeries and all the medication failed that miracle drug. It’s okay, but it’s not for everyone. And she was one of those rare cases where it didn’t work for her. So we went to blood transfusions and then she had multiple antibodies. We started red cell exchange as a as young as she was at eight years, she was having red cell exchange where we are hooked on to one IV and another one one coming in, one coming out. We did that for a few years, but she had again, the antibodies were a risk. So we started talking a bone marrow transplant, which had never been done in Australia. So we decided with the doctors at least. Right. So we accepted that with faith. It took us ten years to accept. In 2019, she had that cure, the first child in Australia to be cured from sickle cell disease. So we see that things are changing.

Agnes Nsofwa: After our daughter was cured, we’ve had about 3 or 4 other kids. They do at least one a year in Australia because it’s not that common when in other parts, like India, they do like they’ve got a big facility. We have like maybe ten or so kids almost every day being cured. So you see, most of the Africans are going to India to get a cure. It’s very common in America as well. But in Australia we are slowly and as we know with multicultural like, when did we start? In the 60s. That’s when the blacks started coming to Australia. So things are changing, but it’s still very hard for other people are still stuck in that, you know racism, white collar racism where you see these people like they’re shining their teeth when you’re speaking to them, but behind closed doors they can’t support you. We have a few I can recognize the fact that Honorable Greg Hunt, a former minister, was one of the ministers in this country to recognize sickle cell patients when he was minister. He was able to to speak with us on June 19th and recognize to see that we see you and this is what we are doing for sickle cell disease, even though, you know, he’s the, the, the the system supports rare disease, being a rare disease, organizations where they in turn, you know, recognize that that was okay for us. I have people who are born in this country over 70 years to say thank you, Agnes and Austria and sickle cell advocacy that for for the first time ever in history, we have a minister who’s who’s spoken on World Sickle Cell Day on June 19th.And he says this is what they’re doing about sickle cell disease. Again, in September that year, you spoke about course, September is considered a sickle cell awareness month. We follow the American calendar. We don’t have that formally. And that’s what we are trying to also have being passed in Parliament at some day. So we follow the American calendar and we are kind enough that Honorable Hunt was able to do that. Honorable Mark Butler at that time was shadow minister. He also continued on the tradition, and they’ve been supporting us. We had the we’ve had three conferences where all of them or both of them have been able to support and, uh, you know, highlights that the fact that we have over a thousand people that are affected in Australia, and it’s not just blacks, we have Greeks, Italians, Indians, and even people that are from intermarriages where we see that we have maybe a Greek marrying a white a black people, a black person. We have these kids who look as Caucasian as you, you might think, but because it’s genetic, they have that sickle cell disease. And those are the barriers and the stigma we are trying to break to say, you know, treat us like any other person.

Agnes Nsofwa: Also the people that have sickle cell disease, asking them that to use your voice in your community so that we can enforce change because if we just keep quiet, like for us, if I kept quiet and say, no, we don’t talk about it, my daughter wasn’t going to be cured today if we just kept quiet in 2020, we realized that, um, there was no newborn screening for children in this country. So and then we ask like, why? They said there’s been no one to apply for it, right? So the way these things work in the government systems, somebody has to put an has to have that initiative. Exactly. They don’t just see in the world to say, oh, there’s newborn screening for sickle cell disease in America. Let us include it. It doesn’t work that way. Yeah. So somebody has to start the process. Yeah. So we started the process in 2020. We applied with a federal government health government. We are slowly getting there. We are I’m hoping I’ve very, very uh optimistic and have the faith. Everything in me that is going to be passed. Absolutely. It was denied in in November. They wanted more information. We gave them that information that they wanted. So anytime you’ll be the first to know as soon as I get that news, I’m, I’m very hopeful that we’ll have children in this country will be tested, uh, when they are born. Because if my daughter was was tested at birth, all the complications, like the lung surgery a year later, right now she’s got 75% capacity. So those things were going to be eliminated just by taking a very cheap drug. It’s like maybe $0.01 in this country. Um, uh, what’s it, the saline or penicillin? That’s an antibiotic that they take prophylactically so that you only take it at best to stop these infections. If my daughter took that at birth, she wouldn’t have those complications. So that’s what we are fighting for, that, you know, kids should be tested at birth and the doctors should see them twice a year. Yeah. As opposed to my daughter at that time she was seeing almost every other week, especially in the winter, would spend time and time in hospital. We were like part of the hospital. We had even the hospital passes. I used to do my studies and write exams in the hospital. That was how hard it was for me and my family because of how nasty the complications were. But if we fight for all the children that are going to be born after newborn screening, that will be like making history in this. Country, and I’m just praying that in the next few weeks or few months. The, the, the health government will realize the fact that we need that screening for children. And that’s what we are fighting for.

Ruhee Meghani: When it comes to collective voice and collective action, there’s a lot of magic that can happen. Yeah. So for everyone who’s listening there, and if you had a message to give to all of Australia, if you could, what is one thing people out there can do to help pass this action that can make so much change for so many children?

Agnes Nsofwa: For newborn screening, I’ve always, always posted on, on um, on social media that go to your your local MP, tell them to speak in Parliament and tell them to why it’s important not just for sickle cell but most of the rare diseases in this country. Why they should pass that law that they should have newborn screening. The the current government did a pledge, uh, as an election promise that they’re going to fund to add more conditions to the newborn screening register. So go to your local parliament or your local MP and tell them why it’s important to support newborn screening right now. Please ask for us for a newborn screening for sickle cell disease. They should speak up in Parliament and then they can enforce change. And not just, um, Parliament, but also just in our communities. As you’ve said, there’s a lot of power using our collective voices. And now in this day and age, we have social media. The more we speak about different issues in our communities, not just sickle cell disease. And this is what I tell people that, you know, I, I am a self-taught sickle cell advocacy consultant where anything that I see for me, I see an opportunity to use my voice. If you see somebody littering, like I’m like a mad person, like one day I saw this, this van outside my house and these crazy boys putting things on the ground.

Agnes Nsofwa: I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, you’re not doing that. Anything that you see wrong, speak up. You know, in in your community. And it’s not just in Australia especially like overseas. We’ve got so many causes. You see poverty. What can you do about that? You see somebody harassing somebody. What can you do about it to to stop, you know, um, last month somebody contacted me on, on social media that, you know, it’s a, um, gender based Violence Awareness Month. Can you participate? I was like, yeah, of course I can, you know. And then I looked at the statistics, all those things. It’s very important that we use our voices, and it’s not just about culture or communities, but everybody in the world. We’ve got a duty of care for a person next to us. If you see that there’s something wrong, I always get in trouble to speak up about for other people because I just don’t. I can’t stand anyone putting down somebody, and I always speak up. So that’s. And this is just for other cases as well. In, in the world, in the community, at home, anywhere to speak up. But um, yeah. For sickle cell, please just speak to our local members of parliaments to support our, our application. Absolutely.

Ruhee Meghani: So if you can take one action away, whoever’s listening, that’s your action for the day. And when it comes to the difference between awareness and advocacy, it’s action, right. And like you were saying, there’s a lot of tokenism that happens. And especially now in Australia, there’s this movement of multicultural health and wellbeing. I attended a conference with that title, what can we do to make this conversation? And I guess conversations that need to be more, uh, prevalent in our conversations. What can we do to support your cause? How can we get in touch with you? What can we do as individuals and as communities? Because I know there’s a lot of smaller communities, but what can we do to all come together?

Agnes Nsofwa: So one of the things, like how I met you in November, we had the conference, we have this, um, uh, it’s an annual conference for us. We have it, um, we used to have it every state, but I think this year we’re going to just have it in, in Melbourne and make sure that we have people come to Melbourne to support our conference. But we also have an informal thing, and this is why I said this came from the background of, uh, trying to to normalize, not really normalize, but try to capitalize on the fact that, you know, people of from different cultures, like multicultural, like where I come from, they don’t tend to speak about these issues. So I came up with my friends, we came up with, um, an event called Ladies Night Out. It’s an informal way of speaking about physical health and mental health. So I’ve got a friend called Mel, um, Mel magazine. She’s from Zimbabwe. She’s a mental health specialist. So together with myself, we said, let’s think of something. So we said, let’s do this ladies night out thing where we call women I, I love women. We have the power to change the world. And if we tell one woman and you know, she’s going to tell a whole family, if she tells another friend and another friend and then we have 1000 households know about our causes, and so we decided that we are going to celebrate women. And that was on the 4th of November of 4th of November. You were there over 90 ladies. We had a good time. But in that time we even had time to speak about serious issues and say, you are here because we want you to help us raise awareness about sickle cell disease. We are here because we want you to recognize that there’s no way of healing the physical if you can’t heal the mental health. So this is why we came together as women and just using that togetherness to to support one another, but also to speak about important causes. And this is what we are doing in our communities, not just in Melbourne. So we decided when it was very successful. We are doing this in different states as well. On the 10th of February, we’ll be in Sydney. On the 17th of February, we’ll be in Perth on the 29th of March, we’ll be in Brisbane, and then in April I’ve been invited to go to, uh, to Washington DC to go and speak about the same event. So that’s incredible.We’re just trying to use our voices again and using the power of women to change the world.

Ruhee Meghani: Absolutely. And I can testify without bias that that room, that conference was one of the very few rooms that I’ve seen in Australia where it was majority of women of color. We came together, we sing, we sang, we danced, we laughed, and we also cried. And that’s the beauty of the collective, right? The beauty of the when we say ubuntu, I am because you are. Yes. And, um, thank you so much for sharing your story and for being here. We’ll put all your details in the show notes so that people can find links on how to find you. Uh, any closing thoughts? Agnes, before we leave.

Agnes Nsofwa: Thank you so much. This is a very, very nice,initiative that you give us. As I’ve said, you know, it’s been very difficult to break those barriers, but if we have these places where we can just share our stories without feeling like you’re being judged or anything. And so thank you so much for giving me this opportunity. And to all your listeners, Rouge is a fabulous speaker. And, you know, watch out for her. She’s she’s fabulous. Thank you so much.

Ruhee Meghani: Too kind. No thank you. It’s an absolute privilege to speak to you and share the space with you. Thank you.

Agnes Nsofwa: Thank you, thank you so much.

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