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US Fund for UNICEF president and CEO Caryl Stern was in Bangladesh recently with Olivia Harrison, widow of former Beatle George Harrison.

“We are nearing the end of our second day in Bangladesh and I want to share some of what I am seeing, feeling, experiencing,” she wrote in a letter. "George Harrison is beloved here, and traveling with Olivia Harrison is like traveling with a rock star. Our day started at the UNICEF Office. The staff members who are old enough to remember George’s Concert for Bangladesh expressed their gratitude to Olivia – we all cried.

“As for the children to young to remember George, we take joy in seeing how his legacy continues to affect their young lives. For instance, at a UNICEF-supported center for street children. Kids from age 8 to teenagers come to the center because they are in Dhaka without a home or a safe place to sleep. They learn crafts here as well as music and dance, and they participate as peer educators and activists for children like themselves.

“They sang for us. When they sang, “We Shall Overcome,” my eyes filled with tears once again.

“For us, George is a legendary member of the Beatles and a humanitarian who used his talents to benefit others. I have to remember that for Olivia he is the husband she lost, the Dad Dhani lost. It is a bittersweet trip in some ways as we watch Olivia experience it, feel pride, and, I am sure, also feel the absence of George.”

George Harrison organized what is considered to be the first large scale, multi-artist benefit concert in 1971, following a massive storm – Tropical Cyclone Nora – that hit Bangladesh on the night of November 11. Bangladesh – then known as East Pakistan and already crippled by the War of Liberation – was brought to its knees, with over 500,000 people losing their lives in what still reigns as the deadliest tropical cyclone on record and one of the worst natural disasters ever.

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