Tag: Pappu

shuktara

Helping a village

Since the latest lockdown and devastating second wave we have also had another cyclone to deal with.

It is easy for us living in a city where we have local shops and markets open in the morning hours, to forget about the villages that have nothing.

Pappu has been informed about a village outside Kolkata where they have been badly hit and is loading up with supplies to distribute to the villagers there.

Each family will receive potatoes, salt, dal, rice, soya bean protein, biscuit packets and bread. The village is on the Ganges Delta an area which was very badly hit by the cyclone as well as their homes and paddy fields being destroyed. They are not only dealing with the aftermath of flooding post-cyclone, but with covid lockdown restrictions and the worries of that as well.

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

Welcome new Raju

When you consider that most of the young people who live at shuktara have been with us from around the year 2000 and that we started the girls home in 2007, we believe most of the boys are about 30 and the girls are in their 20s.

This hit home the other day when Pappu, the chairman of shuktara in Kolkata received a call from a Child Welfare Agency asking if we could take an older boy. Raju Biswas is Deaf and autistic, living with his mother in a room in a village three hours outside of Kolkata in rural Bengal. Her fear of what will happen to Raju when she dies led her to ask around for help.

Pappu met both Raju and his mother last week and on Sunday 28th February he and some of the boys from shuktara went to pick up Raju, see his mother and sign all the legal paperwork. Raju’s mother has no TV or mobile phone but her neighbour has said that she can video call from her phone to Pappu and keep in touch with her son.

We are all happy to welcome one more Raju to shuktara and let’s try to remember that even though, through habit, we talk about the girls home and the boys home, these are mostly young men and women who because of their disability have lost, left or been abandoned by their families.
Shuktara is their home now, it’s not an orphanage, it’s not a children’s home, it is their home and for most of them it will be their home forever.

Welcome Raju!

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 gives back

Shuktara distributes 200 food packets

Due to increased demand from people who live around shuktara and because of your generous support, last week we increased our distribution to 200 packets of food.

The first 100 bags contained 2kg rice, 1kg potato, 500gm onion, 500gm salt, 250gm dal and 4 eggs. The next 100 bags contained an apple and a banana instead of the eggs.

This will help those unable to work during lockdown, particularly the daily wage earners who have no income and little access to food.

Everyone receives a shuktara ticket to say they have picked up this week’s provision bag and Pappu will continue this distribution throughout the month of May.

Thank You for supporting his initiative to help people in the shuktara neighbourhood during this difficult time.

Update to shuktara gives back

A few days ago we posted about shuktara giving back to the local community – as shuktara has enough Pappu decided to share what they have with people in the locality who have nothing. These are daily wage earners, pavement dwellers and families he has been told about who are struggling because of the lockdown in Kolkata.

Pappu started distributing packets of food last Monday (27th April). 50 more packets were given away on Friday (1st May) – each packet contained 2kg rice, 1kg potato, 250gm dried peas, a packet of biscuits and 500gm of mustard oil.

This distribution will happen every week on Wednesday during the entire month of May. Each week they will add different contents to the bags to vary nutritional value. Each packet costs about 250 rupees.

If you are in India and would like to support him:

Account name – Shuktara
Account number – 3187000100033787
Punjab National Bank
IFSC – PUNB0008500

Or call/text Pappu, Chairman of shuktara
Nagendra Mishra (91) 9830760087
Instagram @shuktara_homes

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!

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.

shuktara - Chaturdashi

Chaturdashi – the evening before Kali Puja

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.