Tag: Muniya

shuktara

Painless Protection

First vaccinations yesterday for some of the young men and women from shuktara.

Pappu has chosen the first group of 11 today. This was based on those who go in and out of the shuktara premises most regularly.

shuktara celebrates Dol

Dol

Everyone in India celebrates the coming of spring with the festival of Holi, called Dol in West Bengal (Bengali: দোল পূর্ণিমা ‘Dol Purnimā’).  The celebration last Sunday involved a rainbow of colours and gave a chance for both shuktara homes to interact with people in the community.

Only on this day are young people allowed to be a little cheeky with older people by gently rubbing powdered colour on their faces. As you can see it’s a delightful celebration and no one can resist smiling.

 

shuktara

Jagadhatri Puja

Because Durga Puja was a quiet affair this year and none of the shuktara young people were able to leave their homes, Pappu decided to celebate Jagadhatri Puja at Anna Bari on Monday 23rd November. We held it on the ground floor, at the side of the house, using our garage as a place to keep the Goddess in an open space and accessible for all. This meant that we were able to conduct the puja with different groups of people from our community coming in during the day at different times.

And for the afternoon and evening session the girls came over from Lula Bari.

To see videos of Jagadhatri Puja please click here.

shuktara - Guria at Lula Bari

Laughing through lockdown

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!

Saraswati Puja at shuktara

Saraswati Puja 2020

Saraswati Puja came early this year – the date varies according to the cycle of the moon but typically falls in late January or early February. This year the puja was on Wednesday 29th January and is the first puja of the year celebrating the goddess of wisdom and learning, Saraswati.

At shuktara this occasion is marked by a statue of the goddess Saraswati on the roof of Anna Bari, usually surrounded by bright floral decorations. Everyone dresses up in their best clothes and the young people from both homes gather on the roof to talk, eat kedgeree (a creamy savory rice dish) and, as seen in the video to the right, dance.

Everyone loves Sunil and we all love watching Sunil celebrate by dancing. Happy Saraswati Puja!

Happy new year!

Along with Muniya, all of us at shuktara want to wish you a very happy new year!

David Earp BEM

shuktara founder David EarpWe have wonderful news to share with you – on Saturday 28th December 2019 it was announced that David Earp, founder of Shuktara Trust was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of his work with vulnerable children in India.

The BEM is a British medal awarded for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown. David was nominated by shuktara friend and supporter Patrick Tissington who says:

“Two years ago I was ranting about the honours system and why so many undeserving people get them. Why didn’t people like David get rewarded? For me, the attraction of David’s example is that he saw an awful situation that he decided he could not ignore. The extent of the problem was such that he must have known he couldn’t completely solve homelessness in the world or even solve it in Kolkata. He could provide a loving home for at least some of the children whose families couldn’t support them.

So I asked myself what I personally could do. I don’t feel able to be as brave as he was and I don’t have huge spare wealth or a massive media following. So I decided I could perhaps try to see if the honours system could be used for the purpose it was really supposed to – provide public recognition for people for doing great things.

shuktara - Patrick and Sally Tissington
Patrick and Sally Tissington

The work of shuktara is an inspiration to me and my family every day. And so we have David Earp BEM! I’m so pleased for him and can’t wait to see him presented with the honour. And there must be a party!”

 

Congratulations David – what an amazing honour and a brilliant way to start the new decade!

above photograph of David Earp by Paula Harrowing

shuktara

Weekend in Mandarmani

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.