My mother was 17 when she came to the UK from Pakistan. Like many young women, she dreamed of travelling and getting a first-rate education abroad in a safe and happy country. Her reality turned out to be very different. When she went shopping, shopkeepers often smiled at her with their "good old British charm", but then refused to accept payment directly from her. They kept a jar of water filled with dishwasher soap and asked her to drop money in there lest her brown skin rub off on them.
Sending people back to a conflict zone should not be up for sale. 2015 recorded the highest number of Afghans fleeing their country since the US-led military intervention of 2001. This latest deal threatens to push back thousands of men, women and children into harm's way, forcibly returning them en masse to a country still in the grip of conflict.
I sincerely hope that the refugees that have arrived here in North Devon are unaware of the words that are being written in some quarters in the British press. What is certain is that we could not have done more to welcome these children, and I feel proud to have played my part by speaking out, ensuring their new lives here in the UK are the best they can possibly be.
As up to 70 countries and 20 international agencies gather, corruption in the country is at a record high. In the two years since it was established, the National Unity Government (NUG) has very limited economic achievements, such as completing the previous Government's left-over development projects or signing off a couple of international agreements for power and gas supply.
With this knowledge, and with courage and honesty, we must build on the rhetoric of the New York meeting to identify practical solutions. In today's globalised world, where instability in one place can affect stability in another, we must find ways for all individuals to access opportunity, so they can contribute and achieve irrespective of where they were born.
It was a woman I'd never met who finally swung it. As I lay on a plump mattress under a duck down duvet one night in late April, I thought about what she, Liz, had done with her day. While I'd been sitting on my backside, shuffling words around and working my way through a variety of nut-based snacks, she'd been putting out fires, breaking up knife fights and comforting dozens of bewildered children who know her as a second mum.
Without outside help, things would be different. The fight for women's rights would falter; humanitarian assistance would be limited; access to education, healthcare, livelihoods support and employment would drop. Rural youth, who we have helped into work, would potentially be free to join opposition groups. The road to democracy and security would be compromised.
In Afghanistan, dying is easy, staying is hard but not impossible. We should support those Afghans who have chosen this difficult path. Instead of throwing up their hands in fury at Afghan refugees arriving in Europe, international donors should be helping Afghans build a more secure and stable Afghanistan. Instead of cutting aid, it must be improved and increased.