For the first time we had to delay our celebration because of storms. Below are some photos of the girls lighting candles for the festival at Lula Bari.
Thank you to Dev Ambuly our amazing dance teacher for his work at shuktara and to the team at RJ Photography & Films for shooting this video for our puja celebrations.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!
With all the things Pappu has going on during this busy holiday season he still has time for varnishing nails at Lula Bari.
In Kolkata shuktara is blessed with a wide range of support including the schools our young people attend, the doctors who we have access to and, most importantly, the support of friends and a group of dedicated staff headed by Pappu who work 24/7 each and every day throughout the year.
During lockdown and after the two cyclones we saw that there are others who do not have access to the same facilities and services that are available to us in the city.
Pappu decided to go back and visit villages in the Purulia district of West Bengal, outside of Kolkata, to see what help and assistance we at shuktara can give to disabled children and young people who live with their families but don’t have access to the care and support that we are so lucky to have.
The photos and video below show some of the young people who Pappu met during his visit.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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
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
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.