Kolkata International Women’s Club (KIWC) has been very supportive of the girls in Lula Bari. At the end of March they sponsored the painting of the ground floor of Lula Bari and chose a very shuktara colour – pink!
Members of KIWC Nikita and Caroline came to Lula Bari to see the finished job. We think it looks amazing and really highlights the handmade stitching samplers done by our girls. Thank you KIWC!
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!”
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 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
Sunnie Niklaus is visiting shuktara and that always means exciting activities for the girls. Last Sunday she went to Lula Bari for a "spa day" - let's just let Sunnie tell you about it in her own words...
"Home "spa days" are one of my favorite things. I do them with my young nieces, my roommate, my friends, etc. It’s basically relaxing and catching up with a little nail polish, face masks and probably some glitter mixed in.
A spa day with everyone at Lula Bari seemed like a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
There were cleansing face wipes, aloe moisturizer and face massages, epic amounts of sparkly blush and lipstick.
After lunch it was manicures, pedicures, a lipstick color swap and crafting some floral hair accessories.
The afternoon ended as everything should, with pizza. 🙂 All in all, a fantastic girly afternoon at Lula Bari!"
New clothes at Lula Bari continued...
The young women at Lula Bari had such fun dressing up and modeling their new outfits donated by Mustard Seeds that we couldn't resist posting a second batch of photos, of course) with a few more new-to-us clothes.
Thank you again Maura Hurley for picking out exactly the right outfits for everyone at Lula Bari!
Maura Hurley is a longtime friend of shuktara who runs Mustard Seeds, a wonderful Kolkata organisation dedicated to art, the environment and education. Every year they undertake a local used clothing drive and distribute the clothes to local organisations. This year shuktara was one of the fortunate beneficiaries!
Everyone loves new clothes and as you can see in the photos, our girls had a great time trying on and modelling their gifts. Thank you Maura Hurley for the fabulous new-to-us clothes, just in time for Pujas!