At the opening session of the United Nations High-Level Event on the Millennium Development Goals in New York last Thursday, the founder of India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association told the assembled heads of state that

Poverty is powerlessness. Poverty cannot be removed unless the poor have power to make decisions that affect their lives… Let us remind ourselves that in committing to the Millennium Development Goals, we are in fact pledging to become partners with the poor.

Ela Bhatt is a member of the Elders, an “independent group who offer their skills and experience to support peaceful resolution to conflicts, to articulate new approaches to global issues that cause human suffering, and to share wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world.”

Read more about Ela Bhatt at the United Nations.