Over two years ago we wrote about Sunil and his handcrafted dolls. Since that time, when the mood strikes him, he continues to create his dolls from bits and pieces of scrap fabric he finds around the house.
Sunil has always been a proponent of outsider art made from recycled materials. In his art he’s always been ahead of the curve.
Lately we’ve noticed a new trend in his creations – they’re getting larger. Take a look and see if you don’t agree that not only are they increasing in size but his craftsmanship has reached a new level of expertise.
Click here to read more about Sunil.
Kolkata International Women’s Club (KIWC) has been very supportive of the girls in Lula Bari. At the end of March they sponsored the painting of the ground floor of Lula Bari and chose a very shuktara colour – pink!
Members of KIWC Nikita and Caroline came to Lula Bari to see the finished job. We think it looks amazing and really highlights the handmade stitching samplers done by our girls. Thank you KIWC!
Bappa settled in so quickly to his life at shuktara that Pappu decided to take him to REACH school for assessment.
Yesterday (28th March) at REACH he seemed to have a marvelous time being assessed – just look at the photos. Pappu said he did very well and will start classes on Monday 1st April in the Cerebral Palsy Unit.
We look forward to hearing how Bappa does in school but we expect mainly glowing reports as we are sure his teachers will be completely won over by his amazing smile.
After Saraswati Puja everyone looks forward to Holi, the spring festival of colours. All the flowering trees are in full bloom, colour is everywhere and spring has truly arrived.
Holi is probably one of the few festivals that needs no explanation because around the world photos are shared of people young and old throwing coloured powder and eventually covered in a rainbow of colours.
Here are just a few photos and videos of the fun at shuktara…
Happy Holi from Muniya
Sunil and Pappu
Nandita Ghosh has been working at Lula Bari, shuktara girls home, since 2010. She is a tutor and gives cooking lessons but she is so much more. Referring to the girls of shuktara she said this with a broad smile:
“They are my oxygen!”
Before coming to shuktara Nandita admits she had no experience with handicapped children. Previously she taught cooking, reading and health classes at Shikshamitra (an alternative school in Kolkata). Although she bought books to learn about working with children with disabilities and read extensively – what she ultimately found is that there is “no difference” between the children she taught at Shikshamitra and the girls at Lula Bari.
She talked about the girls’ attempts to learn stitching. At first she thought “they cannot do anything” – especially Guria who has Cerebral Palsy with minimal motor skills. She started out using colors and paper to give an idea of sewing. Then she gave the girls cards with patterns and needle and thread. Within two days they finished their cards and went on to embroider cloth. Now they are all doing amazing stitching – even Guria!
“Actually they need a mother’s love.”
Nandita said that all of the staff love the girls very much and like a mother, it’s important to give moral support and develop good habits and behaviour. She’s seen definite changes in behaviour over the time she’s been in Lula Bari – she talked about how much calmer Tamina is now than when she started.
She has been amazed by how the girls learn everything very quickly, for example they can use Facebook and WhatsApp, something the women caregivers in the home cannot do. She feels if Guria gets proper guidance from her teachers that she will go far.
As a measure of how much the girls like Nandita every day they ask “Will you stay here?”
And when asked what the future holds she says:
“Yes, I’ll be very happy to stay here!”
Last month our photographer friend Sarah Annay came to Lula Bari with her friend Aslyn Beringer to do a Frida Kahlo workshop with the girls. First she explained about Frida Kahlo’s life as an artist who suffered a lot from injuries from an accident. Then she discussed different types of portraits and illustrated these with photos of Frida.
What happened next was quite extraordinary as you can see from the photos below. Thank you Sarah and Aslyn for a fantastic day!
Adam Thompson first visited shuktara back in 2001. After that visit he was committed to supporting the work of shuktara in whatever way he could and when Shuktara Trust UK was registered he naturally became a Trustee.
On the 18th February Adam returned to shuktara with his son Frankie. Being able to show them around Anna Bari, Lula Bari and Shuktara Cakes was a thrill for all of us.
In Adam’s words…
“I know it sounds like just the ridiculous talk of a cosseted north London liberal (which I am!), but everything felt like… home. This is what I remember feeling a decade and a half ago and it was amazing to feel it, perhaps even more strongly, on this visit.”
“The great privilege for both of us was to feel like we were welcomed into this zany, slightly chaotic, incredibly warm family. It just felt so special.”
To read the full transcript of what Adam wrote about his visit to shuktara please click here: https://us7.campaign-archive.com/?u=19bfe4a278e40a10e7e00286b&id=f79a2a8073