Diwali is Hindu New Year - also called the Festival of Lights, a holiday that all of shuktara look forward to with joyful anticipation.
The festivities begin at dusk as candles are lit in all of the windows, up the stairs, and around the perimeter of the roof. Everyone enjoys lighting sparklers and crackers as well as watching the fireworks that explode above the rooftops of Kolkata. It's a magical celebration however it's possible that no one enjoys it quite as much as Sunil.
These polaroids seem to capture the individual spirit of each of the girls and young women who live at Lula Bari.
Thank You Caroline De Penning for spending so much of your time at Lula Bari and for taking these wonderful photos for the girls to treasure.
Caroline comes regularly to our girls home to do fun activities which have included hair and make-up and often other beauty parlour things.
We also appreciate the involvement of Kolkata International Womens Club and their support of our girls. This year they are paying school fees for all of the girls who attend REACH.
Our friend Emma Christmas has visited us at shuktara a couple of times. On both her visits she has made sure that her priority is to spend time with the girls. On Wednesday 22nd March she came with Simon her partner.
They brought lots of things from London and had a great afternoon on this short stopover visit. Emma did a makeup session with the girls. They also brought balloons and cut and paste people to play with. It was a wonderful afternoon and we were all happy to see Emma again. The girls especially love her.
Moni does not feature often in our photos from Lula Bari girls home. She is sometimes very shy, emotional or unconfident about her looks.
(from @davidearp Instagram)
judithharris1 What an incredible and beautiful photo David. I always remember her cuddling up to me during my visit.
thestitchlouse ah -i’m glad she peeped out from behind her gauze ✨
poppyandsebastian She is beautiful!
mckenzie_julia Gorgeous girl xx
lisaborgnesgiramonti Moni, you stole my heart when I met you! You are radiantly beautiful! Sending you lots of hugs and kisses ???
gremkoska Beautiful sweet girl. Reminds me of the Roald Dahl quote: A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. Xx
hensleejimmie Great beauty is often found inside those who must bear outward strife. Her soul is radiant. ???????????
incurably_curious Moni you are beautiful and you are loved ?
Click here to see the original post in Instagram.
The young people that come to shuktara abandoned, lost or having run away from their families come to us with no paperwork. Often the term "unknown boy" or "unknown girl" is used by the Police, Hospitals or Government agencies dealing with lost children.
The first thing we do at shuktara is give them a name, by enabling them to choose or if they are non verbal showing them signs for different names. They have no birth certificate, no known date of birth, no name and no known place from where they have come apart from having been found alone on the streets.
The Aadhaar card is a 12-digit unique identification number issued by the Indian government to every individual resident of India. Yesterday Pappu (the chairman of shuktara) along with a team of our staff took the girls who do not have this ID to REACH school where they took digital fingerprints of all 10 fingers and eye retina pattern as well as a photo of the individual.
Yesterday Moni and Prity completed this work and Puja along with Guria will be done next after we enrol them in REACH school where most of our young people have attended either in their Cerebral Palsy, Special Education or Deaf Units.
It is a great achievement as we celebrate International Womens Day 2017 in the knowledge that all the girls and young women who live at Lula Bari our girls home here in Kolkata will have a name, an identity and a home for life. #IWD2017