INDONESIA: Our Hearing Loss Journey

INDONESIA: Our Hearing Loss Journey

A year ago, when our daughter was nearly 8 years old, we found out that she has profound hearing loss in her left ear. We had been concerned about her hearing since she was in preschool. Her class teacher assuaged our worries and subsequent teachers never raised any issues. But still, we wondered.

We couldn’t get concrete answers

A few years later we arranged for an audiology test at our health clinic in Jakarta and were told that her hearing was fine, in fact, her left ear was “better” than her right ear. Although I should have been happy when the doctor delivered the test result, I felt skeptical and couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right.

We had to wait another year until our next US visit to schedule a more thorough assessment. This time it was immediately clear that there was a problem. The audiologist grew increasingly alarmed as he ran through the evaluation process, but my daughter remained relaxed. I explained that the tests showed us that her left ear wasn’t working. “Yeah, I know that already”, she said calmly, “I’ve been telling you that I can’t hear.”

“I know, sweetie. I know.” My heart broke a little.

There were many emotions that day.

Relief….at having our concerns confirmed and finally knowing what was wrong
Guilt…because it took so long to diagnose her hearing loss
Frustration…that it hadn’t been picked up at school or in the previous test
Amazement…when considering how well she had coped until now
Worry…about the challenges she will face and the unknown path ahead
Pride…in knowing that if anyone can manage this, she can.

The next day we met with an ENT specialist who suggested that we consider a cochlear implant (not typically recommended for single-sided hearing loss). It was a lot to take in and we wanted more time to consider the full range of options. We returned to Jakarta shortly after and followed up some months later in Singapore, where the doctor there told us that if it were his daughter, he wouldn’t do anything.

Between the two doctors, we had more questions than answers and it felt daunting and confusing to be navigating this brand new path with such divergent advice, without any kind of network or supportive community, thousands of miles from our home health care system.

Getting some Clarity

One year on, we are much clearer about things. We sought a third ENT opinion on our last US visit, which confirmed our desire to pursue a hearing aid option that we hope to get soon.

Unfortunately, such devices are more expensive in this part of the world and even with insurance the out of pocket cost is significant. When I found out about this, I immediately started calling around to compare prices – ringing hearing clinics in Thailand, Singapore and even Australia. It seemed absurd in a way – I would never fly to another US state to buy anything – but with limited options here, this type of “medical tourism” is common.

We have also worked with our daughter’s school and teachers to develop and implement classroom accommodations and communication strategies to support her learning and self-advocacy. Catering for this type of individual need is somewhat new for the school, so it has been a learning process for all involved.

Getting by with no support system

Fortunately I now know a few other school families who have children with hearing issues, which is a big help, but I still feel like I’m ambling along in the dark a lot of the time. It is this feeling of isolation which has been the hardest for me.

Sometimes I think that things would be so much more straightforward if we were based in the US and could easily connect with other families, access resources and services, and follow a more predictable path. The logistics of being an expatriate family meant that our daughter’s hearing loss went undiagnosed for longer than it might have otherwise. I still feel bad about this, but I also feel good knowing that our gut instincts were correct and we’re now on the right track.

We don’t know why our daughter lost her hearing. She was a premature twin with low birth weight, which could be a contributing factor – but really, we’ll never know.

The main thing for us now is to protect and maximize the hearing she does have and provide as much support as we can in the journey ahead. She has already selected the color of her new hearing aids (“champagne”) and can’t wait to show us how responsible she is.

If anyone can do it, she can.

As an expat mom do you feel that there are health issues with your kids that might have been avoided or that you could have dealt with better back home?

This is an original post by World Mom Shaula Bellour in Jakarta, Indonesia

The image used in this post is credited to Jaya Ramchandani. It holds a Flickr: Creative Commons attribution license.

Shaula Bellour (Indonesia)

Shaula Bellour grew up in Redmond, Washington. She now lives in Jakarta, Indonesia with her British husband and 9-year old boy/girl twins. She has degrees in International Relations and Gender and Development and works as a consultant for the UN and non-governmental organizations. Shaula has lived and worked in the US, France, England, Kenya, Eritrea, Kosovo, Lebanon and Timor-Leste. She began writing for World Moms Network in 2010. She plans to eventually find her way back to the Pacific Northwest one day, but until then she’s enjoying living in the big wide world with her family.

More Posts

WORLD VOICE: Indian Woman Creates Rehab Center for Acid Attack Victims

WORLD VOICE: Indian Woman Creates Rehab Center for Acid Attack Victims


Acid Rehab Center

What happens when obsession over a woman’s appearance becomes a reason to incite a violent act against her? Violence against women is a constant in many countries, especially in India. Women in India are discriminated on and so many of them have been physically attacked or lost their lives over patriarchal ideologies stemming from their beliefs. One of the most horrific ways women have been targeted in India is by acid attacks. Acid attacks are perpetrated on women who have either spurned a man’s attentions or a result of the perception that they have dishonored their family in some way.

One woman who is making a difference in the lives of acid attack survivors is Ria Sharma, a former fashion student who is the founder of Make Love Not Scars. Sharma had heard of these attacks but was unprepared for what she saw at a government hospital treating acid attack survivors. She had initially thought of doing a documentary to tell the stories of these women, but decided that she needed to do more.

Her confrontation with victims of acid attacks inspired her to launch India’s first rehabilitation center in March 2014 called Make Love Not Scars. This organization makes it possible for survivors to have access to medical, psychological, legal, and financial help even when they aren’t certain they need it. In addition, sleeping quarters are provided for women who come to the center from out of town. A law in 2013 by the Indian Supreme Court regulated that shopkeepers have a license to sell acid and for customers to show ID for it. Yet it is unbelievable that customers can still purchase it for less than a dollar.

Launching Make Love Not Scars was far from easy because Sharma encountered roadblocks due to her young age and her gender. Her efforts were not taken seriously, but she persevered and founded her organization. It is her commitment to make sure victims of acid attacks are cared for, not ostracized.

Most of western society is obsessed with women’s physical appearance. From billboards to magazines, a woman’s external appearance becomes a measure of how much attention, unwanted or not, she receives from men. For Indian women, unwanted attention is half the battle; it is the repercussions of a violent act toward them that leave indelible marks.

Sharma’s dedication to help these women is inspiring. As a woman, I have encountered my share of unwanted attention. As a Mom of an almost adult woman, I think about my daughter who may face the same attention one day and how it will be received if it isn’t mutual. I can’t imagine the trauma and lasting psychological impact of a violent attack such as what these women have endured. It is my hope that Sharma’s organization is only the beginning of raising awareness and decreasing, if not eliminating any means of obtaining acid to attack women.


To read the original article, click below:

Tes Silverman

Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 2)

#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 2)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Network contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us ( for a free pass.”

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Veronique Nicolai for World Moms Blog.

Part – 1 of Dr. Veronique Nicolai’s (Pediatrician and Trainer of Heartfulness Meditation) interview is published here. Part – 2 is published below.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: Are your children practicing Heartfulness meditation?

Dr. Veronique Nicolai: Yes. Our daughter started a little less than a year ago. She has seen us meditating since she was born. She said she was waiting for her to be old enough to start. We have always shared whatever we learned or discovered with Heartfulness with them. But I always told her that what I could share was nothing compared to what I am experiencing and she could know about meditation only when she was going to try it herself.

So, now that my daughter meditates, she comes out of her meditation with her eyes shining and says – “Wow!” I am happy that she started her own wonderful inner journey.

A child practicing Heartfulness Relaxation

A child practicing Heartfulness Relaxation

PR: What are the health benefits you have observed in your child(ren) after they have started Heartfulness meditation?

VN: I have not only seen my daughter, but also other youth starting meditation early, and it has been amazing to see how strong it makes them. Children look incredibly happier; it shows on their face, they keep this brightness in their eyes. They are whole, authentic and balanced. And what is more important, this attitude is supported by the meditation practice, so it stays with them even when they fly out of the nest.

I used to worry about how my children were going to manage in the ‘outside world’ and I would have been easily over protective. But with them meditating and keeping their heart compass intact, I am very confident that they will help other youth find their balance too.

PR: What about the other holistic benefits for children to try Heartfulness Relaxation?

VN: I will give you a very practical example of how my son uses the Heartfulness relaxation. He is very sensitive and movies or stories can impress him. Sometimes he says he feels heavy and not able to fall asleep. So we do the relaxation together. I hold his feet in my hands and guide him into relaxation. And it helps like magic!

A child relaxing before going to sleep, relaxing before their exams or revisions, relaxing at these crucial times, helps him/her in the long run, in his life. It gives composure and they perform better. For some time, I did not even know they were doing it at school and enjoying it.

Such relaxed states of mind, helps us bring into this world, a balanced, content, happy breed of humanity who loves peace. We have a better generation ahead of us, which is not just holistic benefits for children, it is a holistic world, filled with compassion and peace.

PR: Please share a few things about Heartfulness Meditation which children and mothers should know for effective practising.

VN: To have balanced children, you have to have balanced parents. So the onus is first on us – parents. You can relaxation techniques for your younger kids whenever there is a stress, or to help in a difficult moment. But I would definitely recommend using it as a routine to go to sleep, everyday. It helps the child to enter sleep in relaxed manner and will ensure a quality sleep.

The hours of sleep before midnight are most important as deep sleep happens then. Deep sleep is crucial for growing children; it is then that the body heals, fights against infection and inflammation and when the growth hormone is produced.

We do not insist enough on the importance of a good night’s sleep in a growing child. It is even truer for teenagers!

The Heartfulness relaxation will teach in a natural way the child to listen to his heart, because the Heartfulness relaxation takes the child to the heart. And that is where the greatest values lie, and it will shape the child’s destiny.

Part – 1 of Dr. veronique Nicolai’s interview is published here.

World Moms Network has teamed up with the Heartfulness Institute as a media partner for their meditation conferences, the next one is at NJPAC. This interview post is part of the conference promotional, by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India.

Welcome to the Meditation Conference at NJPAC

Welcome to the Meditation Conference at NJPAC

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here!

Please contact us ( for a free pass.

Photo credit to the Heartfulness Institute.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

SRI LANKA: Monsoon season arrives with Facebook Safety Checks

SRI LANKA: Monsoon season arrives with Facebook Safety Checks

Monsoon season is on the brink.

To make things interesting there was a Tropical Depression that started in Sri Lanka and made its way to India, flooding everything in it’s path. It turns out that “Flooding in Sri Lanka” made it to the Facebook Safety Check system and I promptly marked my family as “safe”.

There have unfortunately been a lot of displaced families and ruined homes. Landslides and too much water put Sri Lanka on the news. If you would like to donate to the flood victims please visit the site for YAMU that offers plenty of options for helping from abroad. Our family is in a safe area.

The two days of intense rain that cause the flooding got me thinking of how I always remember an occurrence of strong rain about every place I have lived in.

There are few things I like more than being inside at night with all the lights off and a thunderstorm raging. The way the lightning shines on everything for just a second; it’s like a dangerous magic sparkle.

The first time I ever saw real heavy rain was in Miami when I was 9 years old. I couldn’t believe that so much water could fall from the sky at once. In Lima, our rain was more like spittle in the air, making everything damp instead of washing away grime. The trees got moist but never really clean so the leaves stayed dirty from the soot that never washed away.

The rain in Miami was ruthless, it soaked you in seconds if you got caught outside, parks and streets flooded, the sky would explode in light and the wind would whistle between the houses. When I was 12 we experienced Hurricane Andrew and even if it was a bit scary, I fell in love with heavy rain. Since then, every place I have traveled to or lived in has been marked by episodes of rain.

When my oldest daughter was little, we lived in Cusco, a city in the Andes where rains are quite special. Rainbows are an every day occurrence and sun showers always took our breath away. Once in a while it would hail and the streets would get covered in little rivulets of ice pellets. I loved those days; the sound of hail hitting the roof was so loud we couldn’t hear each other talk.

When I left Cusco, the thing I missed the most was the beautiful cotton like clouds that formed against the crisp blue sky. I didn’t see those again until we arrived in Bangkok. What a sight, giant billowy formations over skyscrapers intertwined with wispy fingers over a deep blue sky that would suddenly turn grey and break loose like a thousand waterfalls. Rain so powerful that you couldn’t see the buildings across the street.

My kids have never been afraid of thunder and lightning, they get excited when they hear the rumbling getting closer and closer as a storm moves in. We watch from the window trying to guess where the next flash of lightning will strike.

Just another afternoon in Sri Lanka

A video posted by Crazy Little Family Adventure (@oranavelarde) on

I read a book once about a hippy commune in Goa, India. I clearly recall that the foreigners would disappear every year during the monsoon season. What a magical word, “monsoon”.

I didn’t realize the magnitude of a monsoon until we arrived in Phuket. The floods were maddening, the wind overpowering, the rains could last for days on end with no breaks or openings in the sky. Those were long, needless to say, wet days.

In the book Goa Freaks, the people that leave for the monsoon are the foreigners; obviously the locals stay. I am living this firsthand in Sri Lanka and the thing that surprises me the most is how people just go on with their lives, wading through the flood. The women in soaked saris going to work or getting things done without a care in the world. The strong rains are so common that it does not stop people from living. Life is just a little wet here on the shores of the Bengal Sea.

Is there a weather phenomenon that has stayed with you through time? Are your children scared of thunderstorms?

If you would like to donate to the Sri Lanka Flood Relief, please visit YAMU, there are plenty of online “from abroad” options if you are not in Sri Lanka

This is an original World Moms Blog post by Orana Velarde, Peruvian mother in Sri Lanka

Orana Velarde

Orana is a Writer, Artist, Mother and Wife; Peruvian Expat currently living in Kyiv, Ukraine with her husband and children. She works as a writer, designer and social media manager for diverse organizations around the world.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

#WorldMoms at Google with @ONEWomenGirls for #AYASummit!

#WorldMoms at Google with @ONEWomenGirls for #AYASummit!

World Moms at AYASummit

This week, a delegation of #WorldMoms is in Washington, DC for the ONE Campaign’s Women and Girls’ Summit (#AYASummit) cohosted with Google. The excitement of hearing from social good game changers such as author and NY Times columnist, Nick Kristof, Edith Jibunoh from the World Bank speaking on Electrify Africa, Barrett Ward from FashionABLE, Jamie Drummond, cofounder of ONE and many more!

We are excited!  And, we can’t wait to take you with us — you can follow the Twitter feed #AYASummit and look out for updates this week on our Facebook Page! And, of course, we will be featuring it in our next newsletter — are you signed up?

#WorldMoms attending the #AYASummit this week are Nicole Melancon, Elizabeth Atalay, Nicole Morgan, Cindy Levin, and myself, Jennifer Burden. Here’s what we are saying…

Nicole Melancon of has just come back from the Grand Canyon and has already landed in DC! This is no surprise for those who follow this jet-setting mom!  She writes in her post about the #AYASummit:

“Today, after a whirlwind week in Arizona I’m back on a plane again. This time I’m heading east to Washington DC and this time I’ve got work to do. I am off to attend an amazing  two-day conference at Google’s DC headquarters hosted by ONE Women and Girls called the AYA Summit. The Summit will be an inspiring, jam-packed two-days filled with some of the world’s leading speakers and do-gooders who advocate the rights of women and girls in the developing world with an emphasis on Africa.

The word “Aya” is a symbol from Ghana that represents endurance, resourcefulness and growth. It is the perfect name for a summit that will focus the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain ahead to elevate women and girls around the world.”

Elizabeth Atalay of has been supporting the ONE campaign for a long time! She is excited to hear from the keynote, Nick Kristof, as she writes in her #AYASummit post:

“The AYA Summit keynote speaker is Nicholas Kristof, who just released a new book co-authored by his wife Sheryl WuDunn titled A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity.  When companies hire women they are more likely than men to re-invest their earnings back into their children, families, and communities. We will hear from companies providing opportunities to women that can enable them to lift their families out of the cycle of poverty.  While on an International Reporting Project trip to Ethiopia this past summer I had the opportunity to visit a partner factory of  FashionABLE , whose CEO Barrett Ward will be speaking on a panel at the summit. It was an impactful experience to meet some of the women in person who are now able to support their families in a dignified way after having been trained to create the gorgeous scarves produced by FashionABLE.”

Nicole Morgan of, who has two daughters of her own, has taken to advocating to girls worldwide. She writes in her #AYASummit post:

“I am blessed to be in Washington DC as one of 75 women invited to attend the AYA Summit. The invitation to attend was both humbling and an honor. These are the words of ONE:

During the summit, we will showcase both the progress against and challenges of extreme poverty. We will also highlight the role that everyone must play if the bold goal of virtually eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 is to be met. We believe that every voice and every hand is vital, whether it is the non-profit or faith communities, businesses, or governments. As a leading digital influencer, we believe that your voice and talents are central to this fight.

When girls and women are given the necessary education and tools, they can be change-makers within their families and communities. Through a series of talks, panels, visuals, and demonstrations, the summit will explore what it means to be born female in Africa, and what we, working together with our African partners, can do to make sure that all girls and women reach their potential. The summit will bring together leaders from the non-profit, government, private sector and celebrity arenas.

And just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of being in Washington, DC, previously, with #WorldMom, Cindy Levin, the Anti-Poverty Mom at the World Bank, and we have reunited for the #AYASummit! Here is a snipped from Cindy’s #AYA Summit post:

“I’ve been fighting poverty with the ONE Campaign for many years, so it’s thrilling to be on the ground floor of this new effort. The emotional mother in me yearns to help girls in developing nations who are so much like my own girls in every way that matters. The engineer in me knows that the most logical & effective way to break the cycle of poverty is to nurture and educate girls who are under-served and are the mothers of tomorrow. Empowering girls gets at the heart of so many problems!

I’ll get a concentrated few days to focus on issues facing women and girls in the developing world with other go-getting grasstops-types in the audience. Through a series of talks, panels, visuals, and demonstrations, we’ll learn what it means to be born female in Africa and what we – along WITH girls and women in Africa – can do to help people meet their full potential. The idea is to stimulate our thoughts and conversations by looking at more controversial topics from different points of view.”

So, that’s our #WorldMoms team reunited, here, in Washington, DC this week! I also can’t wait to meet new friends from the social good blogging world! In fact, check out these #AYASummit posts from bloggers Kelly Pugliano from Eat Picks and Jennifer Iacovelli  from Another Jennifer, to name a few!

We are united to change the world for women and girls!

This is an original post to by founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA.  

Photo credit to the World Moms.

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me: