Tag: Bapi

shuktara - Bapi taking a bath on the roof in the monsoon

Monsoon rains finally come to Kolkata

Usually by 10th June monsoon rains have started in Kolkata. This year the beginning of monsoon was delayed and the rains only really began a few days ago.

The boys at Anna Bari took full advantage of the cooling rain to bathe, dance and play on the roof in the downpour. The videos of Bapi dancing and Sunil “swimming” show the joy everyone feels now that the monsoon has finally arrived.

shuktara - Sanjay, Rubel, Raja

Rubel comes to shuktara

Just a few days before our Founders Day, at the end of June, shuktara Chairman, Pappu, received a phone call from Childline about a young man with cerebral palsy who had been found in North Kolkata unable to explain what he was doing. Because he was also Deaf, the police were informed and Childline held him at one of their night shelters.

Pappu immediately said yes to Rubel and he came to shuktara on 27th June. He does not seem to have any knowledge of sign language and we have not really got very far in knowing his story, because of his lack of communication – but Pappu, the staff at Anna Bari and the shuktara boys are all with him and he seems to be learning and understanding some basic signs. He appears to be a very intelligent young man and we are being gentle with him as he comes to understand his new situation. Currently we have no way of knowing whether he has lost his family, or been abandoned. Not many of us can understand what it must be like to lose or be abandoned by your family. For Rubel add to the mix his confusion, his mild autism and the fact that he’s Deaf and hasn’t learnt sign language yet – and he has cerebral palsy!

Thank God he has met Sanjay, Bapi, Vijay and Raja – who know EXACTLY what he’s going through.

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

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 attend Sanjib's wedding

Sanjib Shaw marries and shuktara is invited!

We have been very lucky at shuktara to have met Sanjib Shaw. For the last few years he has been a generous and committed supporter of our homes and this weekend he got married to Nandini.

Over the three days of wedding celebrations all of the shuktara girls, boys and young people have been invited and involved. Yesterday evening (26th February) everyone at shuktara attended the wedding reception.

We thank Sanjib for all his support and wish him and Nandini much love and happiness together.

Shuktara Cakes article in Times of India

Shuktara Cakes in Times of India!

HAVE YOU MET THESE YOUNG SPECIALLY ABLED BAKERS YET?

Jun 19 2017 : The Times of India (Kolkata) - by Amita Ghose

A group of specially abled youngsters are giving city bakers a run for their money

Times of India article about Shuktara Cakes - June 2017

We know it as the morning star - the companion of light that has always held a special place in cultures across the world. And now, the Shuktara is spreading light in a different way - by empowering a group of young, differently abled men who run a bakery by that name in Behala. For these six energetic youngsters, baking is not just a source of livelihood, it's a way of life. And that's exactly what we felt when we met them recently. Read on...

THE SIX MUSKETEERS

The bakery was established in 2013 and is currently run by Raju Das, Bapi Das, Ashok Chhetri, Sanjay Sarkar, Pinku Das and Suman Goswami - all aged between 20 and 30 and inmates of an NGO's residential training centre for differently abled street kids. "Raju, Ashok, Pinku and Sanjay are the oldest employees of the bakery; Bapi joined a bit later and Suman has joined recently. They are given responsibilities in accordance with their abilities and no one is pressurised to do anything; they work at their own pace," said Somnath Sardar, the manager of Shuktara Cakes, who joined the team three and a half years ago.

And it's quite a team. While Sanjay looks after the outdoor work, Pinku, Bapi and Raju take care of the baking and mixing and Ashok and Suman manage the packaging and cleaning.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

Nagendra Mishra, the chairman of the NGO that brought the boys up, told us that the bakery was the brainchild of French restaurateur Alain Cojean and pastry chef Fabien Rouillard. He said the latter also trained the boys to bake French specialties. "In just 10 weeks, the boys transformed into amazing bakers! We feel so proud of them. Now we deliver cakes to different cafés and also take special orders. But we deliver only on against advance booking, as we don't want to put too much pressure on the boys," he added.

All the boys are paid salaries in accordance with the importance of their duties and responsibilities. They work between five and six hours every day. "In summer, they work for five hours, as the number of orders is less. They get to work at 8 am sharp and continue till noon or 1 pm. But in winter, especially ahead of Christmas, business picks up and the boys have to work a bit more to meet the increased demand," Somnath told us.

A SLOW RISE

Speaking about the hiccups they had while setting up the bakery, Nagendra told us that the original plan was to set up a cafe. "But we had to step back because of various logistical issues. Moreover, when we opened the bakery , a number of five-star hotels and established hoteliers promised help, but all of them backed out later. Then we thought of delivering cakes against advance orders and thankfully, we now have twothree permanent clients along with party and event orders," he said. "The growth is slow and we're still not making profits, but the smiles on the faces of the boys keep us going. Sanjay is now married and lives in a rented house with his family. We also want the same to happen with the other boys," Nagendra added.

Shuktara Cakes article by the Times of India
Shuktara Cakes article in the Times of India

THE TEAM

Pinku Das
Shuktara Cakes
He has been deaf since birth and became an inmate of the home when he was 10. Pinku, who loves maths and drawing architectural designs, is known to be the most dependable member of the team. And when he's not baking, he can spend an entire day watching cartoons.

Ashok Chhetri
Shuktara Cakes
The self-proclaimed naughtiest of the lot, Ashok was brought to the home in 2003 by an Irish nurse working in a mental asylum in Kolkata. He was wrongly diagnosed for a good part of his early years and is actually a victim of cerebral palsy. And although he has limited mobility, it doesn't stop him from going about life with vigour. In fact, the intelligent and fiercely independent boy refuses help of any kind and pity angers him. He can't speak, but can use sign language and understands English, Hindi and Bengali.

Suman Goswami
Shuktara Cakes
He was just 10 when he was brought to the home. And now, Suman works at the bakery and looks after the packaging station as he's physically challenged and needs help to move around. Known for his soft and polite nature, Suman is an effective worker at the bakery.

Raju Das
Shuktara Cakes
Born on a pavement near Kalighat, Raju's grandmother took care of him after his mother passed away and father abandoned them. He has cerebral palsy and severe disability in both legs. As a child, he would crawl under cars and onto the street, endangering his life. When brought to the NGO's home, he could not walk or talk. But now, after completing his preliminary studies, he's doing extremely well at the bakery, despite his handicap.

Sanjay Sarkar
Shuktara Cakes
He was brought to the NGO at the age of nine in April 2000 and no one knows anything about his background or family. Sanjay, who is deaf and communicates using sign language, has always wanted to have a family of his own. And in 2015, his wish became true when he married Munni. The couple now has a girl, Sumi.

Bapi Das
Shuktara Cakes
He's the laadla of the group, as he's a very matured and amicable despite having a severe hearing impairment. He was brought to the home as a child after the workers of an NGO found him moving around Howrah station.He can now communicate effectively using sign language, is good in studies and really proficient in using computers.

Click here to read the original article in the Times of India.

shuktara home for young adults with disabilities - 2017 January - Raju in the sea

Shuktara Cakes holiday in Mandarmani

More photos of the Shuktara Cakes holiday in Mandarmani