1. Birth & Migration – A Tale of a Sylehti Refugee

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I was born in a district town called Sylhet (also known as Jalalabad by its old name)in the erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. The city situated on the bank of river Surma had been a prominent Islamic spiritual centre and home to numerous Sufi shrines. It hosted the 14th century mausoleums of Shah Jalal and Shah Farhan. I vaguely remember, I had once visited the Dargah of Shah Jalal with my mother in my early childhood.

Sylhet was a wealthy district of Bengal Presidency rich in tea gardens, rain forests and river valleys. It was given away to erstwhile East Pakistan by an evil contrivance of the British Government where the then prominent political leaders of Assam had also a part to play. In consequence, we had lost our ancestral home and financial stability, and our married sisters who had well-to-do landowning families in the rural areas of Sylhet division became almost paupers. We thus lost our roots and became refugees. A brief commentary by Ms. Anindita Dasgupta on the post-partition Sylhet and the Sylheties published in her blog could be seen in the attached file at the bottom of this page.

As to my birth, I didn’t know the exact date until recently. My mother did not have much of an education 1. She could not tell the year of my birth, but used to say, I was born during the World War in a blackout night on the 22 nd Magha by the Bengali Calendar, and the day was a Thursday. My age was recorded in the Matriculation Certificate as 17 years 1 month as on the first day of March, 1960 2. Based on this fact, and a declaration on the exact date of birth made by me, the Govt later fixed my official date of birth as Feb 5, 1943. The date was arbitrary and had suddenly occurred to my mind when I was drafting the declaration. I could not be at rest without knowing my actual date of birth. My mother often mentioned that my eldest maternal uncle Ramakanta Das had got married on the very night I had been born. I asked my maternal cousin Rajat alias Manik about his father’s (my maternal uncle’s) date of marriage, but he did not know that. Unable to proceed from that angle, I tried to work it out from other related events of that time. As the birth was during the world war, which could not but be the second world war I surmised the year should be 1943 or 1944. It was then the question of finding calendars of those years. It was a hard task to get calendars that old. I tried various sources, but could not succeed. No one in the family or outside was of any help. By disposition, I am not one to give up easily. I kept on the search. At long last my tenacious efforts brought me success. While editing this document in my primary website for the first time I surfed the internet for the Bengali Calendar corresponding to the year 1943 and chanced upon a website 3 from which I could find the combined calendars in English and Bengali for the months of Magha corresponding to February 1942, 1943 and 1944. Correlating the Calendar for February 1943 with the data my mother had given in respect of my date of birth I found that my actual date of birth was the 4th of February, 1943 corresponding to Magha 22, Thursday, 1349 BS. Curiously, my actual date of birth turned out to be so close to my official date of birth. Anyway, I now feel satisfied.

Historically this day of Feb 4, 1943 is important being linked with the designing of internal combustion engine. Ransom Eli Olds, the creator of one of the first internal combustion engine designs, received his last patent on this day. Olds was noted for creating the first automobile production line, through a company that has made cars such as the Olds Runabout.

My father was Sarada Charan Das and mother Sarojnalini Devi. They had four sons and four daughters of whom I was the youngest. Four of my brothers and sisters died at a very young age. For details of my brothers and sisters click here .

Like my mother, my father too did not have much education. He was a non-Metric. He was initially a contractor but, later worked as a Manager of a printing press. Our ancestral home was at a place called Rainagar in Sylhet town. It was situated on a tila (hillock). As I remember, we had a big pond in the front of our house on a flat land at the base of the hillock on which situated the house, and an orchard of fruits and other kinds of trees in the backyard.

My paternal grandfather was Dinanath Das and the great grandfather Brojanath Das. I did not have the opportunity to see either of them. Nor do I have any information on them. I didn’t also see my paternal grandmother and don’t even know her name. My father had two brothers – the elder Baroda Charan Das and the younger Basanta Das. He also had a sister Bharati Das. I remember to have seen only the elder brother of my father. He was a widower and had a partnership shop with one of his friends. Possibly, he was addicted to alcohol, though my father never drank. He suddenly died one night at the wee hours at our ancestral home after he returned from his workplace. My father was away at that time. My brother did the last rites of my uncle before consigning the body to flames. I don’t know anything about my father’s younger brother or his sister. I came to know of their names from my elder sister.

We had our maternal house in the same town Sylhet in a locality called “Dariapara”. My maternal grandfather was Ramesh Chandra Das, whom I had seen. He was very fond of the cows he kept at home, and would not have his meal without first feeding the cows. He had two marriages; my mother and her two brothers were from the first marriage. I did not see my maternal grandmother. She had died when my mother was very young. It was my mother, who had brought up her two siblings with the care of a mother. My mother had a number of step brothers and a step sister. All these brothers and sisters maintained a cordial relation amongst themselves, and had mutual love for one another. My mother also had a number of cousins. All the brothers, sisters and cousins had great love and regard for my mother.

Thus, on our maternal side, we had many uncles, some of whom I saw and distinctly remember. We were much attached to our maternal side as we had practically none on the paternal side. For details of my maternal uncles and cousins click here .

We left our ancestral place just after the partition, maybe by the end of 1947 or in the early part of 1948, (immediately following the referendum 4 on the annexation of Sylhet) when my father migrated to India taking the job of the Manager of a Printing Press at Silchar, Assam. The press belonged to one Satinath Dev, the father of the Congress leader of the other day, Santosh Mohan Dev – a one-time MP and a Central Minister from Assam. We were four in the family at that time viz., father, mother, my elder brother and I. My brother had, however, stayed back in the maternal house in Sylhet to appear at his Matriculation Examination from Dacca University. He later joined us in India.

As we migrated, we became refugees and lost the affluence we had in the family earlier. Our property in land and house were left behind in Sylhet as they were. Later, these were treated as enemy property by the Govt. of Pakistan. I learnt from my cousins, who live in Sylhet that our said property in land and building had been occupied by the Muslims who had built new buildings there.

AT Silchar, we stayed in a small rented house in an alley opposite the Railway Station in a locality called, Tarapur. My mother used to do all household scores by herself. I was around 5 or 6 years old at that time and was admitted in Class B (equivalent to present day KG II) in a neighbourhood school (possibly run by the municipality) just opposite our house. I don’t have much of a memory about Silchar. My only memories relate to the nightmarish days we spent there, when frightening reports of atrocities against and massacres of thousands of Hindus in East Pakistan reached us every day during the early part of our stay. Once, during that period, I overheard my parents talking about an incident where all the Hindus in a train were reportedly killed on the bridge over the river Bhairab and the water of the river had turned red by the blood of the people killed. People fleeing in fear of life and honour, who could make it to this side of the border brought with them reports of odious incidents of murders, rapes and other forms of atrocities every day. Our sisters and maternal uncles had stayed back with their families in East Pakistan; the reports of these horrifying incidents added to our worries and anxieties for them. In the long run, none of our relations were, however, physically harmed.

My father did not stay in Silchar for long. After the turmoil of the partition was over, possibly in mid-1949, he shifted to Jorhat in so-called Upper Assam. He again had the job of a Manager at a modest salary in a local Printing Press under the management of a Departmental Store named, “Doss & Co.” there. Incidentally, “Doss & Co” was the first departmental store in the North-East. I spent the whole of my childhood and the early youth in Jorhat. I still cherish my memories of those years.

My father couldn’t acquire any land or house of his own, and we always stayed in rented houses in Jorhat. In fact, we did not have any house of our own since we had left our ancestral home in Sylhet till my brother acquired a house of his own in Silchar in the late 1970s and still later, I managed to acquire a flat on co-operative ownership at Salt Lake, Kolkata in mid 1990s. But those are different stories, and will find a place elsewhere.

To go to the next Chapter on “Academic Career etc” click here

to listen to Ms. Anindita Dasgupta’s Blog in my voice. Once you click here it will lead you to a new page where you have to double click the speaker icon in the file named, “Audio Blog on Sylhet-Sylheties…” and Click here wait for sometime for narration to start.

To read the blog, go to the end of this page and click on the file name there. If the file name is not visible for some reason, hover the cursor in the space beside this icon and click on the file name that shows up.

1 During her time, the domain of education was almost inaccessible to women. There were very few women, who could go beyond the Middle School level education. According to available data, only 6% of women were educated in India in 1947.

2 Actually in our Matriculation Certificate date of birth was not mentioned; the age as on the 1st of March of the year of examination was mentioned. Later, while I was in service Govt decided that those having the age and not the date of birth recorded in their school leaving certificates should give a declaration as to the exact date of birth, which would be recorded as the official date of birth of such Govt. servant. It was on this basis that my recorded date of birth became 5th of Feb, 1943. Related Govt. order no. 2141-PAR(WBCS)/2C-10/93 dated August 13, 1993 has been posted in the Appendix page of this site.

I faintly remember to have heard something about Referendum on Sylhet sometimes before we left the place. Later, when I grew up, I learnt that Sylhet became a part of the erstwhile East Pakistan on the basis of a Referendum solely to decide on the annexation of Sylhet. According to available sources the referendum was held on 6 4th and 7 th July, 1947. Originally Sylhet was a part of Bengal Presidency and Assam Province. Though by this referendum Assam lost a wealthy district to Pakistan Assamese people generally greeted it as it fulfilled their long-cherished desire to carve out a homogeneous state for themselves. For greater details refer to http://legalservices.co.in/blogs/entry/Sylhet-Referendum-1947 .

Wisconsin DMV Official Government Site – Acceptable doc. for proof of name……

( ​​en español)​

Wisconsin DMV issues REAL ID compliant products (marked with a ) in accordance with the federal Real ID Act of 2005. If you plan to fly within the U.S., visit a military base or other federal buildings, the Department of Homeland Security will require identification that is REAL ID compliant (or show another acceptable form of identification, such as a passport) beginning October 1, 2020. Don’t get left behind without a REAL ID.

The following documents are acceptable proof of name and date of birth. Documents presented as proof must be original. Photocopies are not acceptable.

For REAL ID ​compliant cards

  • Valid U.S. passport or passport card.​
  • Certified birth certificate or equivalent document from the state, territory, or certificate of birth abroad issued by U.S. Dept. of State (federal forms FS-545 or DS-1350). Canada birth certificates are not acceptable.
  • Consular report of birth abroad.
  • Valid I-551, permanent resident card (issued by the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). Non-expiring I-551 (issued 1977-1989) cards are acceptable.
  • U.S. Certificate of naturalization (federal form N-550).
  • Certificate of U.S. citizenship (federal form N-560).
  • Employment Authorization document​.
  • Unexpired foreign passport with a valid unexpired U.S., visa affixed accompanied by the approved I-94 form documenting the applicant’s most recent admittance into the U.S.

Additional acceptable documents for non-compliant cards

Everything from the above list: or,

  • A foreign passport with federal I-551 resident alien registration receipt card or federal I-94 arrival and departure record that identifies the person’s first and last names, and the person’s day, month and year of birth.
  • A Wisconsin driver license bearing a photograph of the person.
  • A Wisconsin ID card issued under §.343.50, bearing a photograph of the person.
  • Federal I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (Parole or Refugee version) and MV3002.
  • A federal temporary resident card or employment authorization card (federal form I-688, I-688A).
  • Native American ID card issued in Wisconsin.
  • Court order with full name, date of birth and court seal. (Does not include abstract of criminal or civil convictions).
  • Armed forces of the U.S. ID card issued to military personnel. Common Access Card or DD form 2.

The department will decline to accept any document presented if it has reason to suspect the authenticity of the document. Questionable documents may require additional review.

Thousands of refugees celebrate Jan. 1 as their birthday, too

ANNA GORMAN, Los Angeles Times

Abdalla Ali thinks he might have been born during the rainy season. He is pretty sure the year was 1984 but he doesn’t know which month.

Ali grew up not knowing his age or tracking his birthday.

But in San Diego, where he now lives, Ali celebrates each year with his wife, siblings and dozens of other Somali Bantu refugees. They all share the same birthday: New Year’s Day.

Refugees who do not know their birthdays are often assigned 1/1 by overseas workers from the State Department or the United Nations. Though not a formal policy, the practice is common around the world, with refugees from Burma, Sudan, Laos, Ethiopia and elsewhere all turning a year older on Jan. 1.

Of the nearly 80,000 refugees resettled in the United States this year, nearly 11,000 have Jan. 1 birthdays, according to the State Department. Their birth years are based on each family’s own account.

Many of the newcomers were born in homes rather than hospitals, without birth certificates, handprints or cameras to document the day. Others were born in refugee camps or in war zones, where record-keeping was rare. Frequently, births were remembered by their proximity to important events — the year of the famine, the season the village was ambushed by soldiers, the time of the flood.

While some parents were uneducated and didn’t know how to record their children’s births, others, like the Hmong from Laos, simply didn’t consider birthdays as significant as other days.

“Birthdays weren’t that important,” said Joy Hofer, vice president of the International Institute of Los Angeles. “The important events are death and marriage, that’s it.”

Ali, who believes he is 26, said he was surprised by how much attention Americans paid to birthdays. But he quickly adapted to the rituals of birthday cakes, candles, wishes and gifts.

“Having parties is nice,” he said. “It’s very nice to know how old I am and to celebrate my age.”

Even though he is glad to have a birthday to commemorate each year, Ali said another date is still more important to him — the day he arrived in America.

The practice of assigning Jan. 1 birthdays began after the Vietnam War, when large numbers of Vietnamese were being resettled in the United States. Now, it is used for refugees who come from countries without well-developed legal or civil systems, said Beth Schlachter, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department.

“If you don’t have a court system and you don’t have records, birthdays become fungible,” Schlachter said.

Recognizing that an accurate birth record can be critical, the State Department is tracking the number of registered births in countries around the world, Schlachter said. And UNICEF is working to improve birth registration so children from developing countries have access to health care and education and so they are protected from underage employment, marriage or military service.

In America, the new birth date not only symbolizes their new life but also becomes an important part of their record here — Jan. 1 is listed on their driver’s licenses, health insurance and other documents.

Not knowing their correct birthday can present issues for newcomers. If a young refugee is given an age of 19, but he is really 16, he may not be able to enroll in school. And if an elderly refugee thinks she is 60 but really is 70, she won’t be eligible for Social Security benefits.

“If you get your date of birth wrong, it’s a problem,” said Sharlu Tusaw, 36, of Burma, who has worked with refugees in Bakersfield, Calif. “Whether too young or too old, you have to get it right.”

PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center

I care because I've been bullied all of my life. It hurts. I've never been physically bullied, but I've been emotionally bullied. People call me fat, ugly, worthless, ect. I don't want people to have to go through what I've been through. People need to know it's NOT okay to bully. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I've though of commiting suicide NUMEROUS times because of the amount of bullying that I've gone through, but Demi Lovato has helped me. Because of her I didn't. Because of HER I have someone to look up to. Because of HER I'm still alive. She is so inspirational and caring, I wish there were people like her at my school. Thank you, Demi, for saving me. Stop the bullying, spread the love.

Autumn, 13, Colorado

Ive been called every name possible. Dont just be a stand by. The person bullying me pushed me into lockers and stuff. Then she went to the princapal and she told him i was bullying her. And I get hurt and cry myself to sleep and it hurts.

Kathrine, 14, Seattle

I have a beautiful young daughter that has been put through hell and back because of being bullied at school. We need to all work together in our schools and stop bullying. It is extremely damaging and it can last a life time.  My daughter is a straight A student, extremely caring of others, beautiful and most people enjoy being around her.  Unfortunatley it only takes a couple bullies that can turn one's life upside down.  So please listen to your children and watch for signs because it could very well happen to your child.  It happened to mine and is still because I can't find any help.  Please let's put a stop to this before it takes any more young lives.

Julie, 43, Oklahoma

One of my best friends was scared out of his school because he was threatened. A football player looked at him and threatened to kill him because he was gay. It scard my friend so much that he wouldn't give up his name. He just transfered schools. He used to be so proud of who he is. He's not proud anymore. And he should be. 
I've always been against bullying, and tried to fight against it, but this situation with my friend has really opened up my eyes to how BIG of a problem is it. He is why I'm standing up. Because no one, whether straight, gay, overweight, underweight, mentally handicapped, black, white, no matter who they are, NO ONE deserves to be bullied. That's why I care. And that's why I'm fighting for them.~

Tori, 17, FL

My Bestfriend has been bulied her whole life. No one likes her because she's different but I love her for the reason of her being different. Everyone would act like she didn't exist and just scream at her and push her punch her and all. I put a stop to it I threatened everyone by telling them i'd go to the prinicipal.They all stopped and let her be the way she is. I find her an amazing friend no matter what!

Keilin, 13, NJ

I know how it feels to get bullied. I have been bullied for 8 years now and I am still getting bullied. And it isn't fun at all. I also have some friends that are getting bullied too and it sucks just to know that someone you care about is getting picked on and also it sucks just to see them going to pain also. I get bullied at school and online they call me fat, ugly, weird, and other hurtful names. And the pain that I am going through right now, nobody should ever go through but I know that there are some people that are going through maybe even worse that I am going through. And to know that some lives get lost due to bullying I just think that that takes bullying too far. And when I see people getting bullied I step in and say something because I can't just stand there and do noting. I'm just too nice to stand by and watch. That is why I care.

Kaitlin , 15, NE

i know what its like to be bullied , words cannot describe it. You feel hated and worthless for most of the time. I was bullied in 5th grade up to 8th grade. I never had any friends in middle school. I lost all my friends that i have made since 1st grade. Its hard. people would call me fat and ugly. They would spread false rumors about me. They would laugh in my face all the time. I hated life. Today i stand strong. I want to help end bullying. It is a serious topic that really needs to stop. I have a twitter account. @donyafox. I help people on it & i let them know that they are loved. If you are reading this please know that you are beautiful just the way you are. Dont let people tell you that you cant do something you are amazing & i DO CARE. Bullying is horrible and no one should ever have to go through it. Everyone deserves a friend and everyone deserves to feel loved.

donya, 17, CA

I've been bullied by my friends, and i know how it feels like
They used my bad memories as their weapon to attack my heart, i'm being down for months, and i feel like i want to die quickly(suicide)
"You're egoist! You talk bad behind me so i don't have friends! Now i'm gonna give you the payback!" that's what he said to me
I am not talking bad about him, it's his own fault, he's giving us porn video, using bad words everytime, and, punching my best friend, and he's calling his mother to scold me
It is very hurt.

Now i try to fight back, and support my junior that being bullied too

Be strong, it's not your fault, they're just wanting you to be a scum, and they're gonna step on your head
You have my full support if you having the same problem like me
You have me on your back ;)

Nana, 14, Medan, Indonesia

I was bullied so bad in 5th that I dropped out and was home school'd. It was fun I could wake up whenever and just get up to go to the bathroom and NOT WORRY ABOUT PEOPLE CALLING ME A lESBIEN!! Im not going to lie I became a "vocal" bully in 7th grade to fit in. It worked. But it wasnt worth it. So I stopped and am way more liked this year than last year. DONT BULLY. You dont need an amazing story to know that. Just dont do it. Im with you Demi:) and Thank you....

abbey, 13, md

my best friend is beaten up and bullied all the time but he wont tell anyone because he thinks itll make things worse i love him to pieces and want him to be safe but that wont happen until bullying is stopped

chloe, 13, uk

i know how it feels to be lonley and scared when someone bullies you. You get that weird feeling inside, like your not good enough. And that's why i'm going to try to stop this at my school. To many peoples feelings are getting hurt, and it's time to stop the bulling!

anonymous, 12, MI

i have never been bullied before but the people that are being bullied feels sad and don't want to go to school but you have to go to to school and one day you will go to school and you will stand up for yourself it dosen't matter what people say about you.

valentina, 12, fl

I want my children to feel safe in school.

Tina, 35, WI

I want my daughter to NEVER experience bullying.  I hope I can help her to be strong, confident and compassionate to everyone especially the ones who need someone to be strong for them.  It is wonderful to be different; have a variety of friends with different interests.  I sometimes think how boring it would be to hang out with a bunch of "me's"! :) I know it seems great to be "popular" but it is more important to be a leader - make the popular ones follow u!!

Lisa, 36, Detr oit, MI

Everyone bullies me by not sitting with me at lunch and everyone calls me names all day long everyday and I hate when nobody even wants to sit with me at lunch :(

Mary, 17, Canada

Life after loss: Widows share their stories of grief and survival

In many countries, they’re forced into marriage to retain their social status. In some cultures, they’re stigmatized. And around the world, millions of them live in poverty and endure violence.

Today, on International Widows Day, seven widows around the world share their stories of grief, loss and survival.

These are their stories, in their own words. Their answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Santu Kamari Maharjan, 55, Nepal

“When I was 32, my husband was diagnosed with kidney failure and I had to sell our field for his treatment. After he died, I faced a great deal of hardship. My children were very small and surviving each day was really tough. We’d been married since I was 19, I was grieving, but I had to get up and earn some money, I had to work in other people’s fields so I could clothe and feed my children. It was torture, but I couldn’t give up for my children.

As a widow, I faced discrimination. If I spoke, everyone would laugh and clap at me. I was harassed by my own sister-in-laws — they taunted me about running away with another man and marrying again in secret. I didn’t have a choice but to just tolerate it. I didn’t have anyone to talk to or to help me. I felt ashamed and desperate.

When the 2015 earthquake struck, I was inside my home eating a meal. I closed my eyes and had to wait for the ground to stop shaking before I could escape. My house collapsed later on and all of my belongings were buried. My situation had been scary enough before, but then it got worse. I realized I had even less than before. I felt lower than I ever had. I was heartbroken, my house was all I had. Everything I owned was gone in seconds.

I didn’t have any income after the earthquake. All of the villages collected food and shared it around. The relief efforts giving out materials prioritized the people who could go out and speak, mainly men. Single women couldn’t go, we weren’t allowed to ask for what we needed. If a woman is single, she will be told to keep quiet because she doesn’t have a husband.

After the earthquake, a non-profit organization called Women for Human Rights helped 15 of us to build a bamboo shelter so we could start up an agriculture business. They provided us with pipes for water supplies, buckets and so on. We work hard to help ourselves, and one another. It feels good to be earning an income for ourselves after all the challenges we have faced.”

Shams El Salem, 50, and Nazla Muhammed Al Hanfish, 53, Syrian refugees in Lebanon

“In 2002, my husband got bone cancer. It only took the disease two years to kill him.

My husband left me with three children; two girls and one boy. I was alone in Syria in his village, and I barely knew his relatives. I depended on my husband for so many things. He was sick for two years. But had I known he wouldn’t get better, I would have asked him to teach me about everything around the house. There were so many chores that only he knew how to do. But you understand what it’s like when someone you love dearly gets sick? You refuse to believe that he will die. So, I never asked.

When my husband was alive, I didn’t need anyone but him. Now, I feel like I’m a burden on our relatives. Even though they help me out, they still treat me differently. I didn’t know how to feed the children. I didn’t know where to go and who to ask for help. I was completely lost. I felt as if I was alone in this world.

Now, all the women around me have their husbands with them — except for me. Their husbands found their families a place to live in Lebanon. Their husbands work and pay the rent. I had to figure this out on my own. My son helped, but he got married and he has his own family to worry about. I am in debt, and I don’t know how I will be paying it off.”

Nazla Muhammed Al Hanfish

“My husband died during his sleep. He had a deadly stroke. I prefer not to remember this evil day. I woke up and I found him very pale. I later discovered that he had no pulse and had passed away.

It was a huge loss for me. He was the dearest person to my heart. It felt like the end of our family life. Becoming a widow overnight is one of the hardest things that can happen to any woman’s life. I used to close the door and cry alone.

I was a woman with no man. I prefer not to talk about how strangers treated me. But our family in Raqqa, even though it’s small, helped out as much as they could. But there is a limit to what you can ask from them and what they can offer.

I had seven children. Everything changed. Everything. The first two years were bad. But then the war in Syria started, and we live in Raqqa. Things got even worse for my family, especially when my son died in the war. He was 19 years old.

The thought that ‘This is life’ helped me get through the pain. I cannot nag for the rest of my life and ask God ‘Why me?’ I needed to understand that we can’t control what happens to us. We only need to cope.

You have no idea how hard it was to make the decision to leave Raqqa and move to Lebanon – how hard the road was and how difficult it was to find shelter. As for my survival in Lebanon, it is still tricky, but thank God my daughters are working and I am receiving assistance from World Vision.”

Artis Henderson, 37, USA

“My husband, Miles Henderson, an army pilot, was killed in an Apache helicopter crash in Iraq on November 6, 2006. He was 24-years-old. I was notified the next day. It’s always two soldiers in dressed uniform. They have to follow a script. So they said, “On behalf of the President of the United States we regret to inform you that your husband Miles Henderson has been killed.”

I feel like unless you’ve experienced this sort of stuff, that sort of quick tragedy, it’s so hard to know. It’s like everything in the world shifts. I spent the first year just trying to breathe. I was drowning in that grief.

I always remember so clearly, this woman — another widow who was a little further, maybe six months ahead of me in the process — saying to me, ‘You will be disappointed to find out what happens after the first year.’

And I remember saying, ‘Well, what happens?’

And she said, ‘There’s another year.’

That first year, that had never occurred to me because I was just trying to survive. But then, sort of into my second year I realized, ‘Oh, this sort of goes on forever.’

I think it’s lessened now. I’m not actively grieving, even though it still hurts to talk about. But, I think I had the impression that after enough time I would go back to the way I was before he died, but I think that doesn’t happen.

I will say that I have found an amazing community through the military survivors network. Mainly because when a soldier is killed overseas, there are so many really specific things that happen that someone outside the military wouldn’t know about.

So, we have this really common language about, you know, ‘How were you notified?’ and ‘Was the body viewable?’ and ‘Did you request the autopsy report?’ It’s really grim stuff that I think civilians maybe don’t have to deal with in the same way. So, I’m grateful to have that community of military widows who I always know I can reach out to, and they’re there.”

Sarla Devi Sharma, 75, India

“My husband was old and he got frail and sick and eventually died.

My first husband sold me off to a man with six kids along with my daughter for Rs. 20,000 [$310]. After five years, he came to take me back, but people around me started making comments [about the situation] and the second man to whom I was sold married me.

My second husband took good care of me when he was alive. He gave me a dignified life and a name in society.

However, after his death, his children and my only daughter started beating and abusing me, threatened me with dire consequences, and forced me to sign property papers. I used to cry, but the children were not moved by my plight. They wanted me to move out of the house.

It felt terrible, because life changed at the drop of a hat. The position and respect that was given to me was snatched away from me and I was stricken with all kinds of grief.

Words cannot explain the grief that I have experienced. My heart breaks when I think of that pain, nobody can understand what I have gone through. I cry thinking about how my own children treated me. I was old, frail and illiterate. I used to pray to God that some angel would come from somewhere and take me away from this pain.

In a country like India, a young widow can get married and have a life of change whereas an old widow is thrown into a life of hell.

Maitrighar [a home for widows run by the charity Maitri, where Sarla now lives] has helped me overcome all the pain. I never feel lonely or alone here, and the environment here gives me solace and makes me remember my childhood days.”

Grace Njeri Mwichigi, 52, Kenya

“I was widowed 10 years ago after my husband, John Mwichigi, was murdered during the tribal clashes in our country in 2007. In the initial weeks and months after the death of my spouse I had a lot of stress, confusion and fear. I have been neglected and humiliated in many ways by family members.

My experience of grief is struggle and hardships in order to overcome the challenges. I feel lonely with nobody to share life with. God, encouragement from some good friends and church members have helped me to get through the pain of my loss.

Other people sometimes think about being widowed as just a usual way of living, without stress, neglect, humiliation or loneliness. But to be a widow in my country, you will be neglected by relatives, isolated by people, oppressed and denied your rights by family members, society and local government officials.”

Purita Carlos, 55, Phillippines

“My husband died of lung cancer. He was a chain smoker.

We brought my husband to Manila because he was sick. It was discovered that he had a Stage IV lung cancer. He was given three months to live. Our son who was in grade 4 that time had to stop going to school because we had to stay in Manila for almost a year. It was a confusing time for me because we lost the family’s bread winner.

I was confused. I did not know what to do for myself and my child’s future. I did not want to go out. I only left my house to go to church.

I had to learn how to earn a living. I learned the trade of buying and selling. When I went to Manila, I would buy things from there then sell them to my neighbors at home. It helped that my husband had social security pension.

Being a widow is not easy. It is very sad, and the pain of missing your husband is always there. I don’t want to go through the same experience again. That is why I would not ever remarry. It is enough that I have my son.”

On International Women’s Day, why do we ignore mothers?

Updated March 08, 2017 11:50:59

Last year, like the year before and the year before that, I spent International Women’s Day attending events.

I bought my purple ribbon, attended a talk and heard once again about the underrepresentation of women on boards and in executive roles.

And the breakfasts: oh, the breakfasts. So many to choose from, all with interesting speakers and fantastic spreads at fancy hotels.

But this is my first International Women’s Day as a mother, and I’m just hoping to be able to fit in a coffee before my baby wakes up.

Like in previous years, I looked for IWD events to attend.

There was the ICCI International Women’s Day breakfast, focused on sharing experiences in the corporate world.

There was the luncheon that promised to “feature a number of people with cool careers and super cool outlooks when it comes to the opportunities that our industry presents”.

There was the UN event, which said it was turning its “focus to women’s economic and political empowerment”.

But not one made any mention of welcoming children or making arrangements for child care.

If I wanted to attend a breakfast starting at 7:00am, I’d need child care from 6:00am. That’s not easy to come by.

The financial reality of motherhood

Becoming a mother has been an enlightening experience in more ways than I could possibly mention, but one of those I least expected is how it has changed my understanding and practice of feminism.

Where once the corporate gender pay gap and number of women on boards was something that felt relevant to my life, it now feels a million miles away.

I worry less about the 23 cents in the dollar less in my pay packet and more about the fact I earn less than half what I did before I had the responsibility of caring for my daughter.

I have also realised that when we focus our feminist activism on the lives of women working white-collar jobs in cities, even unconsciously in the way we organise, we aren’t doing our job properly.

There is obvious economic benefit in raising the next generation of teachers and lawyers and plumbers and nurses, but there’s also the social benefit of ensuring all people – including mothers – have the opportunity to make choices about their life.

In order to support the economic, social and political empowerment of women with children, we first need to include them in the conversation, rather than just speaking about them.

I should say upfront that I am incredibly privileged. I have a job that is flexible enough for me to be able to do it from home, I have family close by who offer help, and I have a supportive partner who contributes both financially and by doing unpaid work.

But even with all these advantages, becoming a mother has been financially and socially challenging. How much more so it must be for single mothers or those without family support.

Women do much more unpaid work than men

I once understood the gender pay gap in terms of women being paid less to do the same job, and that female-dominated jobs – such as child care and social work – are paid less.

While that is certainly worthy of our attention, the gender work gap is a far broader problem.

It’s not just about comparative pay, it’s also about the ways women are limited in the work they can do, and the grossly disproportionate amount of unpaid work undertaken by women.

This has become apparent in my own life.

I now earn less not because my hourly rate has dropped, but because I have fewer hours available to me for working.

I have used up all my paid parental leave, and my baby still isn’t sleeping more than two hours at a time and so, consequently, neither am I.

Like most households in Australia where a man and a woman are raising children together, I do a larger proportion of the child care.

Part of that is practical, as I breastfeed my baby, but the financial consequences are substantial.

My situation is not unusual. According to the ABS, in male/female couples where both partners are fully employed, men do an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes of child care per day compared with the 6 hours and 39 minutes women do.

Again, that’s on top of working full time. The gap increases when women work part time.

In the 2006 census, in male/female couples, women reported doing an average of 33 hours and 43 minutes of unpaid household work per week, compared to men’s 18 hours and 19 minutes.

By contrast, men reported an average of 31 hours and 16 minutes of paid work compared to 14 hours and 42 minutes for women.

Overall, the total number of hours worked are largely comparable, but the division in paid and unpaid work is stark.

Celebrations of women should be more mother-friendly

Until I became a mother, I hadn’t realised how much these trends would impact on my ability to participate in public conversations about how we can advance the causes of women.

Now, attending events, going to meetings and volunteering are far more difficult. As a result, the movement is deprived of the voices of women like me and the contributions they could make.

But it also doesn’t always take their concerns into account, which can affect what campaign issues are pursued.

Our celebrations of women, such as International Women’s Day, need to be more mother-friendly so they can be more mother-focused.

This can be as simple as hosting events at child-friendly venues or organising for child care to be available.

But it’s also about focusing on women’s unpaid work as well as their paid work.

Men have a role to play here too, in taking on a larger proportion of unpaid work. We should be encouraging them to do so, and encouraging employers to offer policies that allow men to play a more active role at home.

I eventually found an International Women’s Day event at our local suburban library, where I can take my daughter along.

It might not be a swanky breakfast, I might not be able to hear from fascinating speakers and develop new professional relationships, but it’s something.

This International Women’s Day, we’re asked to “be bold for change”. Let’s hope one of those changes is a feminism more inclusive of women raising children.

Erin is a writer and journalist from Sydney, Australia. She usually writes about gender, sport and parenting and occasionally all three at the same time.

First posted March 08, 2017 09:02:52

Small Smiles Dentist | Dental Centers

Welcome to Small Smiles Dental Centers™

Small Smiles Dental Centers is the nation’s leader in quality care for underserved children and young adults. Our state-of-the-art practices are improving access to care for Medicaid and SCHIP patients througout the nation. Since 1967 we have served our patient population with purpose, pride and passion.

Quality Dental Care for Low Income Families

At Small Smiles and other associated dental centers across the country, we strive every day to ensure that children from low-income families have access to quality dental care provided in a compassionate, kid-friendly environment. Our network of facilities and caregivers is dedicated to giving America’s kids the smiles they deserve.

Small Smiles Mission

Forty years ago, Small Smiles was founded on the principle that all children should have access to high-quality dental care. We remain committed to that principle today.

Small Smiles Dental Centers serve communities in 22 states. Click below to find a location near you.

According to the Kaiser Commission, poor dental health in young children has the potential to affect speech, social development and quality of life.

In order to get the correct medical records, folks got to do the following:

1. Ascertain precisely wherever the records ar placed. generally it’s not that straightforward to try to to if that exact Small Smiles wherever your kid with the patient isn’t any longer operative.

2. If the Small Smiles clinic isn’t any longer open, a parent should confirm who has the records. Since it’s needed by law that medical and dental suppliers see if patient records for a minimum range of years in many countries, the records should still exist somewhere.

3. Confirm the precise date that your kid was a patient.

4. Acquire associate authorization that offers Small Smiles permission to unleash your child’s dental records to you. The authorization typically must be HIPPA, within the same method that medical records authorizations got to be.

5. Follow up on the standing of the records request if you have got not received them inside 3 weeks. This typically means that pinpointing the precise one who worked on your request and checking out what their timeframe is and the way several different youngsters they need to manufacture records for.

6. Enlist the assistance of a neutral paediatric dental knowledgeable to review the records and confirm whether or not or not the treatment your kid received was necessary.

Related info:

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking falls on June 26 each year to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. This day is supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world.


What Do People Do?

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has, over the years, been actively involved in launching campaigns to mobilize support for drug control. The UNODC often teams up with other organizations and encourages people in society to actively take part in these campaigns.

Governments, organizations and individuals in many countries, including Vietnam, Borneo and Thailand, have actively participated in promotional events and larger scale activities, such as public rallies and mass media involvement, to promote the awareness of dangers associated with illicit drugs.

Public Life

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a global observance and not a public holiday.


According to the UNODC, nearly 200 million people are using illicit drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, hallucinogens, opiates and sedative hypnotics worldwide. In December 1987 the UN General Assembly decided to observe June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The UN was determined to help create an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Following the resolution, the years 1991 to 2000 were heralded as the “United Nations Decade Against Drug Abuse”. In 1998 the UN General Assembly adopted a political declaration to address the global drug problem. The declaration expresses UN members’ commitment to fighting the problem.


The United Nations’ logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material for this event. It features a projection of a world map (less Antarctica) centered on the North Pole, enclosed by olive branches. The olive branches are a symbol for peace, and the world map represents all the people of the world. It has been featured in colors such as white against a blue background or gold against a light purple background.

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type

Rich Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides so kids can cut lines at Disney World

They are 1 percenters who are 100 percent despicable.

Some wealthy Manhattan moms have figured out a way to cut the long lines at Disney World – by hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they and their kids can jump to the front, The Post has learned.

The “black-market Disney guides” run $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day.

“My daughter waited one minute to get on ‘It’s a Small World’ – the other kids had to wait 2 1/2 hours,” crowed one mom, who hired a disabled guide through Dream Tours Florida.

“You can’t go to Disney without a tour concierge,” she sniffed. “This is how the 1 percent does Disney.”

The woman said she hired a Dream Tours guide to escort her, her husband and their 1-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter through the park in a motorized scooter with a “handicapped” sign on it. The group was sent straight to an auxiliary entrance at the front of each attraction.

Disney allows each guest who needs a wheelchair or motorized scooter to bring up to six guests to a “more convenient entrance.”

The Florida entertainment mecca warns that there “may be a waiting period before boarding.” But the consensus among upper-crust moms who have used the illicit handicap tactic is that the trick is well worth the cost.

Not only is their “black-market tour guide” more efficient than Disney World’s VIP Tours, it’s cheaper, too.

Disney Tours offers a VIP guide and fast passes for $310 to $380 per hour.

Passing around the rogue guide service’s phone number recently became a shameless ritual among Manhattan’s private-school set during spring break. The service asks who referred you before they even take your call.

“It’s insider knowledge that very few have and share carefully,” said social anthropologist Dr. Wednesday Martin, who caught wind of the underground network while doing research for her upcoming book “Primates of Park Avenue.”

“Who wants a speed pass when you can use your black-market handicapped guide to circumvent the lines all together?” she said.

“So when you’re doing it, you’re affirming that you are one of the privileged insiders who has and shares this information.”

Ryan Clement runs Dream Tours Florida with girlfriend Jacie Christiano, whom the rich Manhattan mom indicated was her family’s guide.

A working phone number for Christiano couldn’t be found, and Clement refused to put The Post through to her. A message left on Facebook was not immediately returned by Christiano.

Clement denied that his gal pal uses her disability to bypass lines. He said she has an auto-immune disorder and acknowledged that she uses a scooter on the job.

Disney did not return repeated requests for comment.

Donate a Day’s Wage to Charity Day | 11th May

Today celebrates ‘Donate a Day’s Wages to Charity Day’, where people are encouraged to donate the equivalent of their day’s wage to a charity of their choice.

Usually celebrated on the second Wednesday in March, the day aims to encourage people to become involved with various charities, both through financial aid or volunteering for the day.

So who will your chosen charity be? Check out some of the fantastic things you can get involved in below.

Take Steps for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Join Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and take steps towards a future free from cervical cancer. Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK’s only charity dedicated to supporting women and their families affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities. Cervical cancer is a preventable illness and yet every year in the UK 3,000 women face a potentially life threatening cervical cancer diagnosis and 1,000 women lose their lives; that’s 3 women every single day.

The Gherkin Challenge 2016

Want to get an amazing 360 degree view of London, a glass of champagne (or juice) and raise money for The NSPCC? By supporting this event, your donation will make sure that when a child needs a helping hand, people are there to support them through it. You can help children rebuild their lives, and find ways to prevent it ruining anymore.

Join Refuge’s London 10,000 campaign run

Since 1971, Refuge has led a campaign against domestic violence and supports 3,700 women and children who have been through the terrible experience. Prior to 1971, domestic violence was seen as a ‘private matter’ to be dealt with behind closed doors and for people not to help or support. However, Refuge disagreed with this and decided to support women and children, helping them to regain control of their lives and move forward.

Are you ready to be an inspiration? Become a ‘big sister’ with Girls Out Loud

Girls Out Loud are looking for big sisters to work with a group of girls from Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High School in Rhyl, North Wales. Their core programme is a 12 month mentoring programme for 14 year old girls called Big Sister. Here they recruit and train women from all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds to be a mentor to a young girl for a year.