When Emily Howling became Mellor Rose Queen in the UK in 2012 she chose shuktara as her charity and raised funds to help support our homes.
Emily wanted to visit shuktara and here's what she says on her GoFundMe page:
"Shuktara means a lot to me as it was my Rose Queen charity back in 2012, when my team and I raised over £13000 for them. Having the chance to visit would be incredible!"
This week she finally arrived in Kolkata with her mum Rachel. Every day both of them have been working with the girls at Lula Bari.
We want to send a huge thank you to everyone who supported Emily when she was Rose Queen and also on her GoFundMe page that helped her come visit us.
We just can't stop telling you about the amazing generosity of Sanjib Shaw and his friends. Our last post was about the boys getting wheelchairs and this one celebrates a new form of mobility for Prity and Guria.
Everyone at shuktara is just so excited about going on vacation with Sanjib and the gift of six wheelchairs will enable those less mobile shuktara young people to move around much more easily.
Thank you again Sanjib!
We now have a local physiotherapist who is coming to Lula Bari and the shuktara boys' house. He may increase his timing but for now he is starting slowly with one hour in each home twice a week. After only a couple of sessions the results were obvious.
We are very grateful to two wonderful shuktara supporters who are sponsoring his stipend for one year.
We expect regular physio sessions will make a difference in both comfort and mobility for Moni, Prity, Guria, Aakash, Subhash, Suman and Ratan.
And it's great fun, especially with the exercise balls!
We have a lot of fun at shuktara but we can also be serious.
None of the young people at our homes have ever been forced to go to school. We believe in letting them settle at home before enrolling them at school.
In India, home tuitions are an integral part of education. Below are some photos of Moni and Muniya studying at Lula Bari. Don't let their smiles fool you - they are intently doing their lessons!
Phoebe (one of the filmmakers) says:
"I wanted to share this small bit of video that didn't make the trailer cut -- because the sentiment is very important to David and also to us as filmmakers...
On this next trip, cameras will be shared and I'm working on ideas that will allow the kids who don't have the motor control to hold a camera to shoot differently. Or to let that movement be part of the making. The shuktara community's eyes are as important - if not more important than - our eyes."
To be part of this amazing documentary about shuktara please click here:
"True generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity.
False charity constrains the fearful and subdued, the 'rejects of life' to extend their trembling hands.
True generosity lies in striving so that these hands — whether of individuals or entire peoples — need be extended less and less in supplication, so that more and more they become human hands which work and, working, transform the world."
Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Holi is an Indian spring festival also known as the "festival of colours". As Wikipedia says: "It signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh."
As you can see from the photos, this is a favorite festival at shuktara, celebrated by everyone.
Happy Holi from all of us at shuktara!
Our girls house tutor Priyanka (photo on right) is with the girls most evenings from about 6pm and sometimes stays the night.
Last Thursday night, 15th Feb, Guria and Moni were drawing (we particularly love her fish) while Lali was doing basic Bengali/English and Prity along with Muniya were doing their school homework.
It's great to see Guria taking part in all the activities and Priyanka makes sure that she is included in everything.