Shewly Akter

I am a Slum girl and the future Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
Confused? That’s natural because 13 years ago I would never have dreamt of being a power presenter. I lived in a Shantytown, in Gawair in Bangladesh. My future was written- get married off at 11 to an older man, become an uneducated housewife and be confined to living my whole life in the same small village that I believed was the entire world.
Until. Someone walked in and changed my life.

My name is Shewly Akter and in 2034, I will be Prime Minister of Bangladesh. This is my story.

I am 19 years old, from Bangladesh.
I met Maria Conceicao, who from Portugal, when I was 6 years old and since then my life completely changed. She has a foundation in Dhaka known as Maria Cristina Foundation and for the last 13 years, she is been supporting the underprivileged children to go to school and obtain a quality education so that they can break the cycle of poverty and achieve their dreams of becoming whatever they want to become in the future.

At the very beginning of the foundation in 2005, when we saw her for the first time we didn’t know if she was a real human being because we never saw these type of human before and never knew skin color people like her exits in the world, not only that my friends and I from that little area called Gawair where we were living thought that Bangladesh is the only country in the world and no other countries in the world existed. We were the only people on the planet living. We were not aware that country like United Arab Emirates, America, Australia exits as well as people with different skin colors exited.

I am from a world, where children as young as 5 years old are totally normal to go and do jobs in an extreme conditions for instance: in constructions sides, garments factories, local restaurants, tea shops or do highly dangerous labors works and earn very little for themselves so that they can support their families.

Where girls when they get their first period parents think and the society thinks that it is absolutely the right time for them to get married and it’s normal to get married to a man who is 5 times older than her.
These are what I saw and heard since I was born to 6 years old!!

One day suddenly comes a strange voice in my ears who tells me totally different things, that no one has ever told me before, neither I heard from my parents and friends ” dream big Shewly as big as you want because you are capable of being anything you want in your life.”
If you want you could be the next leader, next Richard Brinson, Next Ellen Musk, CEO of multinational companies and change the world for better.

In 2011, out of 600 students, fortunately, I am one of them and have been the luckiest one to come to Dubai 8 years back along with 6 more students to study in the United Arabs Emirates and it has changed our lives completely.

Now I see this world a totally opposite way for 8 years. My dream is to become the Next Sheikh Zayed of my country, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. I have a great vision since I was 12 years old, my vision is to and transforms my country just like he did to UAE. Just like Sheikh Zayed said, ” my real asset for my nation will be my people, the prosperity and success of a country are measured by the standard of education available to all its citizens.” – Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan