Our friend Debasish dressed up as Santa Claus to deliver gifts to all the boys, girls and young people at Anna Bari and Lula Bari. You can see by the smiles that everyone was happy and absolutely delighted with their presents.
Saraswati Puja came early this year – the date varies according to the cycle of the moon but typically falls in late January or early February. This year the puja was on Wednesday 29th January and is the first puja of the year celebrating the goddess of wisdom and learning, Saraswati.
At shuktara this occasion is marked by a statue of the goddess Saraswati on the roof of Anna Bari, usually surrounded by bright floral decorations. Everyone dresses up in their best clothes and the young people from both homes gather on the roof to talk, eat kedgeree (a creamy savory rice dish) and, as seen in the video to the right, dance.
Everyone loves Sunil and we all love watching Sunil celebrate by dancing. Happy Saraswati Puja!
On Saturday 28th September we celebrated Mahalaya, this is the day that Durga comes to earth and the beginning of the celebration of Durga Puja which starts when her face is unveiled on the 4th October.
28th September is the day that Subhash celebrates his birthday and also a day when visitors come to shuktara with gifts for everyone because of Mahalaya and the forthcoming festival.
This year we had a lot of gifts – clothes, food, umbrellas and blankets and a promise of a water filter machine for Anna Bari. Pappu’s friends Navin and Rajesh filled up a car with food (see photo) enough for both our homes.
When everyone found out that Guria celebrates her birthday the following day, on the 29th September, our guests rushed out to buy cake for her, to be kept in the fridge. So Guria ended up with 3 cakes on Sunday including the one that Pappu had organised for her.
Nobody arrives at shuktara with a date of birth. But everyone has a birthday that they choose or is chosen for them if they are unable to do so.
Thank You to all our friends and supporters here in Kolkata, India and around the world.
On Tuesday 27th of August 2019, Pappu (chairman of shuktara in India) received the news that shuktara, Kolkata now has permission to receive donations electronically from outside India.
This is the news we have all been eagerly awaiting for the last four years.
We have managed to keep both our homes running and we have been able to do everything we wanted to do over the last years, but are now looking forward to being able to do so much more for the future of the young women at Lula Bari and everyone at Anna Bari, our boys home.
Thank you all for sticking with us, supporting us and helping us out when we needed it most.
If you now wish to donate directly to shuktara, Kolkata please use the details here:
Swift Code: PUNBINBBDCA
IFC Code: PUNB0008500
Account Name: shuktara
Account No.: 3187000100080165
Bank Name: Punjab National Bank
Branch Name: Kolkata Ballygunge
Branch Address: 18/1 Gariahat Road, Kolkata 700019, West Bengal, India
Our general running costs, staff salaries and expenses including school and tuition fees will still continue to be paid quarterly by Shuktara Trust UK.
If you live in the UK and pay tax then donating through Shuktara Trust UK is the very best way to donate. If you’re a UK taxpayer, Gift Aid increases the value of your charity donations by 25%, because the charity can reclaim the basic rate of tax on your gift – at no extra cost to you.
In West Bengal we are very lucky because we celebrate two festivals of light - first Kali Puja (dedicated to the goddess of Kolkata, Kali) and on the following night, Diwali (Hindu New Year).
On both nights pradeep (shallow clay vessels with oil) and candles are placed all around the house. The short videos and photos below show preparations for lighting up the house on Kali Puja.