Tag: girls

shuktara Founder's Day 2019 - David and Sunil holding a photo of Anna

1st July 2019 shuktara Founder’s Day

On the 1st July everyone at shuktara celebrated our Founder’s Day, commemorating the day that Anna and Sunil came on the 1st July 1999. Twenty years of shuktara is definitely something to celebrate. A dedicated team spent several days decorating the roof with draped vintage saris and jasmine garlands. There was a swing version of the Jasmine Throne, which is starting to be a serious shuktara tradition.

All afternoon and into the early evening a Hindustani music group played. A phuchka wallah was at the entrance of Anna Bari offering everyone what is surely the favorite Bengali snack. For those of you unfamiliar with phuchka they consist of a round light crunchy exterior filled with boiled potato mash, onion, green chillies, boiled Bengal gram or white peas, chaat masala, cumin powder, rock salt, chili powder, a squeeze of lime, fresh coriander, and tamarind puree.

Between the phuchka and the beautiful music most people sat downstairs and it was really lovely. The music was divine and had the most wonderful calming effect on everyone.

So many people congratulated us on 20 years and we thank you for your words of support and encouragement. We’re all looking forward to the next 20 years of shuktara!

Click here for more videos of our shuktara Founder’s Day…

shuktara - Sunil and Anna

Today shuktara celebrates 20 years!

1999-2019

First day of shuktara 1999 On 1st July 1999 the founder of shuktara, David Earp, agreed to take responsibility for two teenage boys with disabilities, Anna and Sunil.

The idea was to keep the home small and take in children and young people slowly – first boys, then girls. This was only possible due to the dedication and commitment of David (the founder), Pappu (manager, foster father, chairman and so much more) and the other staff, many of whom have been with us from the early years.

To the right is a photo of Anna and Sunil with David. Sadly Anna passed away last year but we hold him in our hearts and have named the boys home Anna Bari in his memory.

Below is an early photo of the boys, and on the right, the first three girls of Lula Bari, the girls home.

This is how shuktara began…

The photo below is shuktara today…

The year when each person became part of the shuktara family is next to their name. We can’t really say that this is a complete picture because just a few days ago someone new came to Anna Bari. We promise to tell you more about him later because now it’s time to celebrate…

20 years of shuktara!

To read more about the history of shuktara click here.

For more about the people of shuktara go to our shuktara family page where you can learn more about each individual.

Puja in front of the newly painted Lula Bari wall

Painting Lula Bari Pink

We’ve only just begun…
As you know our friends at Kolkata International Women’s Club sponsored the painting and decoration of the ground floor of Lula Bari. Photo opposite shows Puja sitting in front of the newly painted pink wall.

Pappu has hired a team who will start work on the roof. This is to make it clean, strong and damp proof before the monsoon hits.

Then they will start painting the stairwell down to the first floor where all the girls sleep. When that is finished they will also paint the stairwell down to the ground floor, including all windows, frames and doors on the first floor itself.

Helena Christensen was very excited by the opportunity to help paint the rest of the house in hot pink, so the continuation of this work is being supported by Helena and Camilla Stærk – through a percentage of sales from their Pawn Shop, STÆRK & CHRISTENSEN.

We’re very grateful to Helena and Camilla to have given this wonderful gift of renovating Lula Bari and will post photos when the work is completed.

shuktara home for disabled girls

Stitching with Guria

The shuktara girls are quite accomplished in stitching and have created many samplers over the years – you can see more of their work in the video below. The second short video shows just how much Guria can do despite her difficulty with fine motor skills. We think you’ll be absolutely amazed at Guria’s stitching technique.

shuktara home for disabled girls

Spring festival of Holi

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

“They are my oxygen”

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!”

shuktara - Lula Bari home for disabled girls - photo by Sarah Annay Photography

Spirit of Frida Kahlo at Lula Bari

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 and his son visit shuktara

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