Everything about Bhalil touched my soul, how such a shattered and deprived neighbourhood sang blissful songs of hospitality, unity and contentment. How its women found happiness in every strand of the buttons they made with love, how the village men knew one aother by name as if they were all part of one big family. How for its children, imagination was enough to make playtime last until the sun set, as shades of crimson, amber and tangerine were thrown into the dusty sky over Bhalil , its beautiful colours embracing the heavens gracefully
Every child, no matter where they are born, has the right to a healthy start in life, the right to an education and the right to a safe, secure childhood. But around the world, millions of children are being denied these rights, for no other reason than the country, community, the gender or the circumstances into which they are born. We cannot and we must not let this huge injustice continue.
Unless we want to find ourselves in 2030 having failed to fulfil our commitments, writing another set of Global Goals, mourning the loss of a great opportunity for change, we must take the role of youth seriously. Young people have a passion for change that gives them the drive to shape the world they live in. In the mission to end poverty and deliver on the Global Goals, what better allies to have?
In terms of its ambition and scope, nothing quite like the Global Goals has ever been attempted. If successful, the impact on all our lives would be profound. It would be one of our defining accomplishments, but if we don't take these principles of cooperation on board, we may well be placing humanity's greatest endeavour out of our reach even before the ink has set on its agreement.
What sort of system have we created that relentlessly siphons wealth from the poor to the richest 1%, and in the process deprives humanity of the resources that could bring happiness, contentment and joy to billions of people? When, oh when, will world leaders take concrete steps to remedy this injustice and unfairness?
I love talking to children. They are so unaffected and they can tell you so much more about a society, and in a much more nuanced way, than famous politicians, experts, journalists, and the like. They are even better than taxi drivers who tend to provide such a deconstruction of the social and political life of their country that sometimes I want to say to them - please, take me back to the airport!
Youth clubs in the UK provide a similar function to the ones in Bangladesh. Young people have the chance to help in the community, play sports, and receive vocational training. In Bangladesh, this is where VSO volunteers came in - training youth club staff and organising vocational courses for youth club members.
One of the things I love about my job is that I get to be optimistic every day. That's because I, and my colleagues working in international development, look at the problems of the world that are rooted in poverty and inequality, and refuse to accept that the world is not smart enough or rich enough to defeat them.
As Mark Carney and others have said, greater fairness is needed, because without it, the social contract that binds us together is weakened. When people feel that the playing field is far from level, that the rules are rigged by those with power and influence to work against them and their children, society begins to feel the strain.
Whilst international security and the global economy are likely to dominate news coverage surrounding the G7 meeting in early June, there is another important point on the group's agenda that we should be paying close attention to. Among other health issues, diseases of poverty - or more specifically, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) - will be a focal point for the summit meetings.
Agricultural development through productivity improvements, crop intensification, irrigation, and investment in infrastructure has significantly improved food security and the seasonal dimension of hunger worldwide in recent years. Yet seasonal hunger still persists among the rural poor, and should not be lost within poverty statistics or forgotten when addressing chronic hunger in policymaking.
At emerge poverty free we work through local partners in East Africa to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Sometimes this is through an education project or by provision of clean water, and sometimes it is by establishing a demonstration farm, so that local communities can learn about improved farming techniques and better crops.