Tag: Bablu Lal

shuktara

Rubel reunited with his family

Pappu took Rubel yesterday (30th July) to be reunited with his parents who have been found. They had filed a missing person report when he went missing and Rubel was in the system.

They are now heading back over 300km to his home in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal, close to the Bangladesh border where he is one of six boys. His father works as a labourer in the fields as a daily wage earner.

Everyone at shuktara will miss Rubel and his infectious laugh.

shuktara homes birthday celebration for Bablu Lal

Bablu Lal’s birthday

At shuktara we love to celebrate birthdays. 15th May was Bablu Lal’s birthday. We think Bablu is probably the oldest person who lives at shuktara although like most of the people who live at our homes we have no actual birth information. Bablu’s birthday is during the very hot season right before the rains start in June. We’re sure that a piece of Bablu’s cake made the day a real celebration – and possibly for just a few minutes everyone could forget about the soaring temperatures.

Click here to read more about Bablu Lal.

shuktara boys home for young people with disabilities - Anna Bari

Anna Bari

Although the shuktara girls home is called Lula Bari we've never had a name for the boys home - until now. We think the very best way to honour Anna's memory is to name the boys home after him.

First we had our expert sign maker draw up a design. The photos above show the design and it's creation and installation.

The boys home will always be known as Anna Bari.

shuktara homes for young people with disabilities

Happy Diwali!

Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights, celebrated in autumn. This is one of the most popular festivals in India which symbolizes the "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance."

This is a favorite night at the shuktara homes as everyone helps with lighting up the house and setting off fireworks.

This year our celebration was a bit more subdued as we all remembered Anna and lit candles not only for the festival, but also for him.

shuktara homes for young people with disabilities

Getting ready for Kali

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.

shuktara homes for young people with disabilities

Durga Puja – visiting the pandals

If you follow shuktara you know that Durga Puja is the biggest festival of the year in Kolkata. All over the city elaborate handmade pandals are created to house clay statues of the goddess Durga and her family who come down once a year from their heavenly abode for a five day holiday.

This year the young people of shuktara visited the pandals on the 1st day of Pujas which was Shashti and 3rd day which was Ashtami. Everyone dressed up in their new clothes, piled in the cars and went pandal-hopping.

(thank you Raegan Hodge for all the fabulous photos!)

shuktara homes for young people with disabilities

Raksha Bandan at shuktara

Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival that celebrates the bond between brother and sister. Traditionally sisters tie a "rakhi" (thread or ornamental bracelet) around the right wrist of their brothers.

Every year a few women associated with shuktara go to the boys' home and tie rakhis on all of the boys and young men - as you can see they are absolutely delighted to participate in this celebration of the bond between siblings.

According to Wikipedia this "transformed tradition" also happens outside the shuktara homes:

"Among women and men who are not blood relatives, there is also a transformed tradition of voluntary kin relations, achieved through the tying of rakhi amulets, which have cut across caste and class lines, and Hindu and Muslim divisions."

shuktara homes for young people with disabilities

Shuktara holiday in Mandarmani

Last weekend everyone at shuktara went on a seaside holiday to Mandarmani. Many thanks to Sanjib who made this wonderful event happen!

shuktara homes

Old friends visit shuktara

In 1999, the very beginning of shuktara, Alison and Bryan stayed in an upstairs flat in the first shuktara home. Their door was almost always open to the first five boys - Anna, Sunil, Shantara, Bapi and Sanjay.

For the next few years they taught computer skills downstairs in David's flat, shared meals with everyone at shuktara, and even went on vacations to Goa and Puri with the boys. While they lived in Kolkata they were frequent visitors to the shuktara homes.

They recently returned to Kolkata for a visit and absolutely loved being back with the young people of shuktara. They took dozens of photos - here are a few of the best.