When I first became a music therapist many years ago, I worked with small children between the age of 3 to 5 in a community setting where both typical children and children with disabilities attended during the day. There were about 20 of them in the class. Half of them had disabilities, such as autism and Down Syndrome, while the other half did not.
Imagine a country where, at the stroke of a pen and without any recourse to a judge, a faceless Government official can deprive someone of their liberty and, at the stroke of a pen, consign them indefinitely to what to all intents and purposes is a prison, without them having being charged with or convicted of any crime. That country is Britain. And if you thought that this use of state power was characteristic only of dictatorships or tyrannies, then think again, as it's happening here, on our doorstep, under our noses, without any fuss and certainly without any publicity.
Since appearing on GMB, people have asked me "If there's a training programme which saves babies, why isn't it made mandatory? I didn't think stillbirth was preventable". I didn't think stillbirth was preventable either but I also didn't realise how common it was or how the UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates in the developed world. Until it happened to me.
I felt guilty as I slid the 'Get Well Soon' card into the recycling bin. I'd only just read it after excitingly tearing it open in the rare occasion that a hand-written envelope came through my letterbox. But the words on the front of the card just filled me with tears... 'Get Well Soon'.
Donating an organ is one of the most inspiring and altruistic things a person can do. It is often the gift of life to someone who is critically ill and might otherwise have just weeks or months left to live. It can give families in their darkest hour, the opportunity to turn their tragedy into hope.
Being a teenager is difficult enough without having to also cope with the impacts of drinking dirty water and not having somewhere to go to the toilet or manage your period. I know now why WaterAid's work is so vital.
During the course of my humanitarian work in Syria, I have listened to many children share their perspectives. The death of family members, whether siblings or a parent or other loved one is common. Being displaced from their homes, often more than once, and finding their friends and communities snatched away. Memories of repeated attacks from warring parties that flattened whole neighborhoods, fires that raged through the night stay with them.
Sometimes commercial viability of biomedical inventions or therapeutics exists only in developed countries, even though minor product optimisations could increase access to life-saving medical care in resource-limited settings through cost reduction and functionality additions.
Ebola is such a contagious and deadly disease. This is the worst outbreak ever, both in terms of numbers affected and geographic region. It is the first time Ebola has appeared in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, so there's a lot of misunderstanding, which breeds fear, and it's that fear that presents the biggest challenge.
Pregnancy and the birth of a baby can be a magical time for parents, full of hope for a bright future as they bring their newborn home from hospital. But the experience of pregnancy and becoming a parent can also be an anxious and uncertain time- especially with a first child.
Despite the work of both government and Médecins Sans Frontières, there is still an atmosphere of anxiety surrounding the crisis. Lahai says that patients admitted to the hospital for other conditions have been escaping because they are afraid and don't feel protected: every day someone dies from Ebola and they think that they are at risk of dying if they continue to stay at the hospital.
Like most people, I'm a sucker for a feel-good story. Walk into any bookshop and you will see a veritable smorgasbord of inspirational biographies and autobiographies fanned across the shelves. They all have a common golden thread deftly woven through the chapters: overcoming adversity when the odds are stacked against you.
We filmed it at Scope's West Hampstead shop and had a great laugh making it. The other stars of the ad - the shop manager Cathy, volunteer Maureen and all the other people in the ad who react to my strip were great.
"When I have a family it will be totally different. I hope we will be able even to wash and do our laundry here at home. And when we will have the water point up here, that old water point can be used for the rice field, it would be good for tomato and onion growing, so there would be more food."
The world can feel like a scary place for any young person striding out on their own for the first time. Thrust into a world of greatly increased responsibility, the transition to adulthood is a challenging time. For most young people there is a support network to help them through this period. They fall back on the support of their family and friends; they learn and adapt. However, for young people leaving the care system this support is sadly often limited or non-existent. All too frequently they are left to fend for themselves without the necessary skills or even a suitable place to live.
In more than two decades in the charity sector, I've been involved in a lot of campaigns about a lot of different issues. I've spent my professional life fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable children in the world and in that time we've take many strides forward in improving healthcare, sanitation and education systems. But it's rare that I've felt so optimistic about the potential for change as I do about the chance we have in the coming months and years to get it right for the world's girls.