Shuktara believes that everyone is entitled to a safe and loving home. The charity was started by textile designer David Earp, after a visit to India changed his life forever.
Adopted himself, David was deeply moved by the plight of children with disabilities* who had been orphaned or abandoned. These children were living on the streets and begging for scraps of food, or were in local institutions that were not equipped to properly care for them.
David resolved to provide a 'home for life' where children and young people with disabilities can be part of a family and receive the love and support they need.
It all began in 1999 when David was told about two 16-year-old boys with learning difficulties, who could no longer be cared for in the institution where they lived. As they had nowhere else to go, David took Anna and Sunil into his own small flat in Kolkata.
Word soon spread that David would accept children that no one else would take in because of their disabilities or behavioural issues. After moving to a bigger place, the shuktara family continued to grow, as more and more young people needing a home were brought to David.
Now, over a decade later, shuktara consists of two homes housing 8 young women and 14 young men, many of whom have disabilities such as deafness, cerebral palsy or learning difficulties. Many of shuktara’s young people had suffered terrible hardship and discrimination. Because of their disabilities they were written off as incapable of learning, developing as individuals or integrating into society.
For more about shuktara and David please read A STORY.
"Our philosophy is to provide care in a home environment, not an institution," says David.
"The difference that just a few months at shuktara makes is astounding. The boys and girls grow in every sense - physically, in confidence, in skills, in communication. Their personalities blossom, they begin to come to terms with their disabilities* and to fulfill their academic potential.”
Now that there is a home for the boys and the girls, there are no plans to expand shuktara. Instead, David’s vision is that the residents have the security of a family home for life, which can never be taken away from them. To do this, shuktara relies on the kindness of its supporters to meet the on-going running costs – including food, clothing, household bills and school fees.
Shuktara has survived and thrived thanks to David’s untiring efforts and the donations of a close-knit group of supporters. But the charity needed a firmer financial footing to secure its long-term future and to achieve its goals.
To this end a British charity was set up – Shuktara Trust (UK) – to fundraise for shuktara in India. The Trust is governed by seven committed and highly skilled volunteer trustees, who all share David’s vision.