When Belinda is in Kolkata she always visits shuktara. Usually it's a night out at Fire and Ice to have the best pizza in Kolkata. This time the party included some of the young people from shuktara and a small group of friends. Thank you Belinda!
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.
shuktara started on 1st July 1999 so yesterday we celebrated our 18th anniversary! Sunil and Anna were the very first young people to come to shuktara on this day.
Today shuktara has two homes where 23 young people live as a family. The original idea was to give young people with disabilities a real home, somewhere they could feel safe and know was their forever home.
Just look at Anna’s smile because that says more than we could ever express in words.
#shuktarasmiles #myshuktara #shuktaramiracle
Sunil loves all holidays and Rath Yatra is no exception. Here he is with one of the “raths” (chariots) that he helped Jogen (right) make. Clearly Sunil couldn’t be happier! #shuktarasmiles
Ratha Yatra or Ratha Jatra or Chariot Festival is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Odisha, India.
I returned home from Venice slightly torn and tattered only to open this gorgeously wrapped box and find this beautiful doll made by Sunil Das from Kolkata India. Wow, he fits so perfectly into our family here! So honoured and touched and inspired that David Earp would have sent to me from Shuktara Homes, a project he established to create a home for children who are in need of a family. @shuktara_homes @davidearp
I saw this doll on Instagram and read the story about Sunil who makes them and places them around the house and neighborhood. An action and spirit I strongly connect to. Now magically his beautiful creation is here. Sunil is one of the first boys that David helped in 1999 Thank you Sunil for your beautiful gift. Please follow, support this project. Thank you David it is an incredible gift.....!!! You can read about Sunil Das here. #shuktara #sunildas #artist #deafpride #themaster
@anhourbeforesleep (Geoffrey Farmer)
Our friends Emma and Simon who visited Lula Bari last week, also spent an afternoon at our boys home. Emma was here on the day that Ratan came, so for her it was very emotional to see him again. The moment he was brought into the house in 2012 was a particularly poignant memory for her.
Emma brought her partner Simon with her this time and it's always interesting to see our homes and young people through someone else's eyes.
In Simon's stunning photos below you can see that he has a great eye and it's no coincidence that his name on Instagram is @polyperspective.
The ever inventive Sunil Das has a new obsession.
Using scraps of found fabric he twists, binds and fastens until he has something that looks like a small figure.
It's almost like Sunil is doing an art installation in our locality. After making the dolls he's been placing them around the house and our neighborhood.
This one he positioned on the wall of the house opposite! Each of the dolls is different and we look forward to each new creation.
Bridget Scott has been to Kolkata before, but this is the first time she has danced for shuktara.
Bridget is from London and lives in Kyoto, Japan where she has been studying two Japanese dance forms: the avant garde style of Butoh and a very traditional form known as Nihon Buyoh.
On Friday evening 24th February 2017 Bridget came to shuktara boys home and performed a selection of Buyoh and Butoh for the young people from both of our homes on our rooftop.
The staff had decorated the roof with saris and placed beautiful textiles on the floor for everyone to sit on.
Bridget started with Buyoh and then did Butoh and some improvisation where she removed her obi (the tie around her waist) and ran around and in between the young people and staff of shuktara allowing them to hold and touch the obi as she ran.
It was an exciting, emotional and interactive performance and deeply moving as well because it was the night of Maha Shivaratri here in India.
We thank Maura Hurley for introducing Bridget to us and special thanks to Bridget who had a heartfelt wish to perform for our young people. We appreciated it. THANK YOU!