Inspired by his time in Edilpur, Bangladesh, and the Girls’ Education Forum he attended this year, Gurvir has been raising awareness of global issues in his local area.

Gurvir Deol poses for a photo with his team mates and local community members. Photo: Gurvir Deol/YCI Gurvir Deol poses for a photo with his team mates and local community members.

Gurvir connected with his local YMCA, Thames Gateway, Romford to share his first hand experiences of tackling poverty overseas. Gurvir was particularly keen to compare gender inequality in rural Bangladesh and the UK.

Earlier this month, Gurvir ran a workshop with six young people based at YMCA Thames Gateway to help the group identify how gender inequality operates in different contexts and challenge their perceptions of gender stereotypes.

Gurvir describes how important it was for him to connect with a local YMCA in the UK: “The young people accessing the services that the YMCA provides have all grown up around me but in different circumstances. I feel the need to share my experiences to help provide more opportunities for them in the future.”

“I lived in the same area for years and had not once looked into the work my local YMCA does.”

Gurvir working with local young people at YMCA Thames Gateway. Photo: Gurvir Deol/YCI

Gurvir facilitates discussions around gender inequality by sharing his experiences in Bangladesh on ICS.

As well as helping other young people through his workshop, Gurvir challenged himself; this was the first time he presented to a group of people outside of school or university. He says: “I overcame my fears of presenting to an unknown audience without assistance. The atmosphere was so welcoming that the presentation flowed naturally.”

“Without taking part in ICS, I would not have been able to speak as passionately about gender inequality or poverty.

“Seeing these issues first hand to extreme levels inspired me to continue making a difference. I wanted to learn more about what can be done and do my part to help contribute to a solution.”

Gurvir describes what he learnt through this process: “Personally I learnt to give myself more credit for the work I’ve done. Creating the presentation allowed me to reflect on all the good work I’ve contributed to which is always great to look back on.“

“I feel connected to the community for the first time.”

Gurvir believes that this project has helped him become a more active citizen within his community, so much so that he’s been offered space to run workshops and presentations with YMCA Thames Gateway in the future.

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Gurvir Deol poses for a photo with his team mates and local community members. Photo: Gurvir Deol/YCI


While Bangladesh has made great progress in recent years to increase female representation in parliament, traditional attitudes mean women remain less likely to be in work or earn as much as men.

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