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.
In West Bengal to try to slow the spread of the virus we now have two days of complete lockdown each week. For many of our young people with physical disabilities lockdown is not very different as most days are spent at home in Lula Bari (our girls home) or Anna Bari (our home for boys).
For example Guria has physiotherapy every week at home and she seems quite delighted with her routine. Who knew physio could be so much fun? In fact the other girls in the house can’t help but watch as Guria laughs through her whole session with Sandip our physiotherapist.
Some things have changed, like the way our young people study. Before the pandemic the girls who attend REACH school would get ready, climb in the shuktara vehicle and go to school. These days everyone in the world is doing school remotely. Now Guria is helped to get ready for school wearing her uniform, Pappu turns on the laptop and connects her with her teacher online.
Sometimes what seems like an obstacle for some people has the potential to be a new and exciting experience for others – as you can see from the photos Guria enjoys her online classes immensely!
Last weekend Pappu took the girls from Lula Bari to the seaside resort village of Mandarmani.
This is a good time of the year to visit the beach because the weather is sunny and the monsoon rains have usually finished. Everyone enjoys the beach and the fresh sea air is a welcome change from urban Kolkata.
Sunil went also because no one likes a holiday more than he does.
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.
Gift Aid allows UK charities to claim back the basic rate tax already paid on donations by the donor (only UK donors are eligible). This means we can claim back from the government on your behalf 25p for every £1 donated, boosting the value of the donation by a quarter.
We are grateful for your donations, both the one-off gifts and the standing orders that you have set up.
This extra money makes so much difference in Kolkata, it means we can do things like pay for more physiotherapy classes for Guria, who has cerebral palsy and lives at Lula Bari.
If you are a supporter of shuktara and haven’t filled up a Gift Aid Declaration form please think about it.
It’s really easy and all the information is available here:
So, if you pay Income Tax in the UK your donation can go much further if you take a few minutes and fill out the form.
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.
Since April of 2018 Sandeep (our physiotherapist) has been coming to shuktara twice a week. We thought you might like to see how the girls at Lula Bari are doing – check out the photos and short videos below.
Sandeep visits Anna Bari as well for Subhash, Bappa, Aakash and Sumon.
Prity is most comfortable sitting – but Sandeep is trying to get her to stand for longer periods to strengthen her legs.
“Prity is concentrating more now with physio because as she is 18 years old her study at REACH school is over. She has more time to improve herself with the help of the physiotherapist and she is doing well. It will take a long time for Prity to improve her movement.”
Physiotherapy for Guria is all about straightening, stretching, strengthening. She works very hard at her exercises twice a week.
“Guria is trying hard but her disability [means that] most parts of her body don’t act together. His aim is to coordinate Guria’s movement however that will take a long time.”