Author: shuktara

disabled girls sitting on the floor with dance teacher

Shuktara news from David

We celebrated Holi on Friday, 18th March, which is always looked forward to and enjoyed by everyone.
Our Dance Tutor Dev Ambuly (see photo above) came over especially to visit the two homes and as you can see, our new Puja is thoroughly enjoying herself in her new surroundings at Lula Bari.

The initial group of shuktara residents who received their first vaccine have now received their second and everyone who lives and works at shuktara continues to be well.
You may remember that Pappu chose the group who spend more time outside the homes to be vaccinated, in the hope it would protect them, their families and the more vulnerable ones that are in Lula Bari and Anna Bari. This seems to have worked and as I said – everyone is and has always stayed well.

Celebrating Holi at Anna Bari
Puja Basak and Lali

Our hopes and dreams of the Shuktara Cakes Café are happening slowly, with teams here and in Kolkata working to make sure everything is done properly, legally and safely.
Pappu will be working with a consultant who has already set up three cafes in Kolkata. They will prepare a thoroughly costed business plan and budget so the Shuktara Trust UK trustees can ensure the cafe can operate cost effectively both in the short and long term.

I really appreciate all the support you have shown since 1999 and now that things are safer the UK trustees and I will be able to get together soon to discuss fundraising strategies to continue supporting the homes, ensuring that they have more than sufficient funds for shuktara’s annual running costs and get the Shuktara Cakes Cafe off the ground.

Of course, any of you that wish to run marathons or help us in any way – please get in touch!!!!!!!!!

My very best wishes

David Earp

shuktara family - Puja Basak

Newest member of our shuktara family

We have another Puja at Lula Bari!
This is Puja Basak who has been living alone in a small room after the death of her parents.


The other residents from her building who have been looking after her got in touch with Pappu as the landlord wants to rent the room.
Some of them came along with Pappu to see Lula Bari, her new home.

Puja is happy to be here with the rest of the shuktara family to start a new life which will be a little more busy than it has been for her living alone in her small room.


We look forward to seeing her thrive.

Disabled girl in bright red dressing sitting on the floor with another girl behind her. She has just come to live in Lula Bari, home for disabled girls in Kolkata.
Puja Basaj with Tamina
Four young women standing beneath a Happy New Year banner

Happy New Year!

Everyone at shuktara continues to stay well with new restrictions coming into force.
On the 1st January we celebrated Sumon’s birthday as well as a new year and on the 3rd everyone got together at Anna Bari for lunch.

Happy New Year from everyone at shuktara!

Shuktara Cakes team

Shuktara Cakes in the news

From The Telegraph India 22nd November 2021


Meet the inspiring bakers of Shuktara Cakes

These men have emerged smiling and victorious against personal battles with disability, and are the soul of Kolkata’s beloved French bakery

Video team: Aatreyee Mohanta and Madhurai Banerjee

In Kolkata, when craving a madeleine or financier, Shuktara Cakes is almost always the name that comes to mind. Established in 2013 by  Alain Cojean, director of Cojean restaurants in Paris, this Behala bakery soon became a crowd pleaser. 

However, their story began years back in 1999 when British national David Earp started Shuktara as a charity to care for children and young adults with disabilities. 

“In 2013, the boys were grown up and we wanted a way to empower them and make them independent. That’s when Shuktara Cakes started,” said Pappu Mishra, Chairman of Shuktara in a chat with My Kolkata at the Shuktara facility. 

The bakery is spread over the rooms on the ground floor of a Behala home, which is also the NGO’s care centre. A team of five men, who all grew up in that home, now create delicious sweet treats right there, spearheaded and supported by Somnath Sardar, manager of Shuktara Cakes. 

There’s a camaraderie only found in childhood friends who grew up together that can be witnessed between the men. In practised ISL (Indian Sign Language) they share jokes about things recent and from the past that makes you feel right at home in their presence. Bonus, their welcoming hospitality includes delicious madeleines to sample.

Meet the Team

(L-R) Rajesh Roy, Raja Mohan Das, Sanjay Sarkar, Ashok Chettri, Raju Das and Somnath Sardar | Aatreyee Mohanta

Sanjay Sarkar

Sanjay Sarkar putting madeleines in the oven | Shuktara Cakes

Sarkar by the team. Now, the 28-year-old is a dedicated baker at Shuktara Cakes. Sanjay always has a smile and a cheery disposition, and he’s often the one who takes the new boys who come to Shuktara under his wing. Sanjay lives independently now with his lovely wife Munni, who also has the same disability, and their five-year-old daughter, Sumi.

Raja Mohan Das

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0VGmallq-O/

Raja has been under Shuktara’s care since 2006 when he was 15. Raja studied at the Oral School for the Deaf where he learned to sign, and is a keen painter with a love for cars and motorbikes. With the highest levels of confidence, 28-year-old Raja is a successful part of the team. He married Riya, who is also hearing imparied, in 2014 and is father to six-year-old Oindrila. 

Rajesh Roy

https://www.instagram.com/p/BnI0I08lxri/

Rajesh became a part of the Shuktara family in 2006. He is the shyest of the lot but has a warm smile that will make your day. He came to the home without a name, and from a list of options picked “Rajesh” and “Roy”. From a mischievous child with a keen desire to learn, he has become a strong pillar of the family. He joined the bakery in 2017, after he finished school at the nearby Pragati School. Knowing that his diagnosis of Usher syndrome might eventually lead to blindness has not put a damper in the enthusiasm with which the 25-year-old takes on his responsibility in the team.

(L-R) Raju Das and Ashok Chettri | Shuktara Cakes

Raju Das

One of the most enthusiastic members of the team is 25-year-old Raju. He was born in the roadside slums of Kalighat and was cared for by his grandmother, before he became a part of the Shuktara family. Raju has cerebral palsy, but that doesn’t dampen his spirits one bit and he dreams of using his baking skills to have his own bakery one day. He is speaking and his first language is Bengali, but Raju is also one of the best sign language interpreters in the house. He cherishes his independence and is extremely proud of the phone he bought for himself with his earnings from the bakery.

Ashok Chettri

Ashok was brought to the home by an Irish nurse in 2003, when he was just 11 years old. He chose the 15th April for his birthday because it is the Bengali New Year. He is now 31 years old and has volunteered himself to work at the bakery. Having cerebral palsy his movements and speech is restricted, but he understands Hindi, English and Bengali and uses ISL to communicate. He has a great sense of humour, and also likes to turn the music really loud to dance and show off to the people he likes. He is the one always making jokes in the bakery and working harder than everyone else.

Madeleines fresh out of the oven at Shuktara Cakes’ bakery | Aatreyee Mohanta

Everyone knows about the baked treats that Shuktara Cakes makes, but it is truly a revelation to meet the team behind it. Visits to NGOs and establishments run by charities can often be an overwhelming experience, wrapped in feelings of sympathy, but meeting the team at Shuktara Cakes is different. Their confidence in their skin unknowingly urges you to look past their struggle and see the inspirational, independent men they have become. 

(Shuktara Cakes is known for their madeleines and financiers which they bake fresh when they receive an order. You can order cakes from Shuktara by contacting Somnath Sardar at +91 98743 49175.)


by Aatreyee Mohanta | Published 22.11.21 | Click here to read the original article.

shuktara - Vishwakarma Puja

Holiday Season

Vishwakarma Puja – 17th September

As the holiday season in the West begins, in India the festival season began with Vishwakarma Puja back in September. Vishwakarma Puja was held in the Shuktara Cakes Bakery space which is now on the ground floor of Anna Bari.

Durga Puja – October

Durga Puja is the main festival, but due to Coronavirus restrictions the only outings made were by the Shuktara Cakes team who were selling patisserie at a local Puja.

Diwali / Kali Puja – 4th November

Jagadhatri Puja – 12th – 13th November

Following Durga Puja we celebrated Diwali and Kali Puja and ended our festivities with Jagadhatri Puja held on the 12th and 13th of November outside Anna Bari, where everyone from both homes attended and the local residents enjoyed socialising with our young people and staff.

shuktara

Raksha Bandhan at Anna Bari

Sanjay who came to shuktara in 2000 and is now living independently with his wife and daughter arrived yesterday morning to tie Rakhi at Anna Bari.

Raksha Bandhan is a day that celebrates the bond and love between a brother and sister, or siblings in general.

The words “raksha bandha” means “the bond of safety and security” that siblings promise each other, no matter the circumstances.

shuktara Raksha Bandhan
Sumi, Munni and Sanjay
shuktara

Painless Protection

First vaccinations yesterday for some of the young men and women from shuktara.

Pappu has chosen the first group of 11 today. This was based on those who go in and out of the shuktara premises most regularly.