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.
On midnight 15th August 1947 India became independent. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Indian Prime Minister said these words “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”
This year marks the 74th Independence Day celebration. All over India people observe this important day with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events.
At Anna Bari, the shuktara boys home, Pinku returned to join in the celebration. Pinku is now living independently and supporting himself. After raising the flag Pinku set a green kite to fly free, much to the delight of Bappa (see the photos below). Bappa had fun moving his wheelchair in circles (video below). And Sunil, who absolutely loves the Indian flag, wore a mask embellished with the tricolour of saffron, white and green.
Meanwhile at Lula Bari the girls gathered around the flag and sang the Indian National Anthem with Pappu. The video is below – keep watching to see Muniya lift her fist in a salute to Indian independence!
Girls sing the National Anthem
Happy Independence Day!
Everyone knows that Holi is the festival of colours, and probably the most fun you can have in India. The boys of shuktara and their friends always meet at Anna Bari to throw paint powder at each other and put it on each others faces. We all laugh – a lot. This festival is a wonderful beginning to spring and a welcome break from work and studies.
On Saturday morning 23rd November our friend Kate Barton landed in Kolkata.
She spent 24 hours at shuktara and it was a wonderful day.
Most importantly Kate spent the afternoon at Lula Bari – named in memory of her friend Lula Gibson.
She made some great heart connections in both Lula Bari and Anna Bari, our boys home and in the evening she returned again to see the girls with a delivery of pizza that she organised for everyone at shuktara.
Thanks to your generous donations to shuktara we have been able to fund a tutor for Anna Bari.
He will be working with Aakash (here), Subhash, Bappa, Bablu and Sumon. But already we can’t keep some of the other boys away!
We were able to find Joydeb through Priyanka who is the girls’ tutor at Lula Bari.
He will come to Anna Bari three times a week on the days the boys don’t have physiotherapy.
Lighting of 14 candles at Anna Bari
Chaturdashi is observed on the night before Kali Puja. Fourteen lamps were lit and placed around the house to remember 14 generations of those who have died.
In the video Sunil is lighting the candles around Anna Bari.
VIP Guests at the Kali Puja Inauguration
On the same evening Pappu took Guria, Prity, Aakash and Bappa to a Kali Puja inauguration where they were VIP guests and Pappu was able to speak to the audience about the work he does at shuktara.
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.
Vishwakarma is considered to be the divine architect and creator of the world. On this day workers ask him to bless their tools (from a simple hammer to a more complex machine like a computer) and give them safe working conditions, success in their work and a better future.
At shuktara this is usually a small celebration however this year Sunil decided that the statue representing Vishwakarma could be bigger. You can see Sunil in the first video below joyfully banging with a pair of scissors during the ceremony to honour Vishwakarma.