Dolyatra is celebrated in March on varying dates each year, depending on the position of the moon, and this year it fell on March 7. The holiday is similar to Holi and commemorates the last festival of the Bengali calendar.
Sports Day for REACH students was held on Sunday, 19 February.
In the running race Tamina came 1st (!) and Lali came 3rd.
Puja was awarded first prize in the austism running group but she is unable to have the medal around her head or stand on podium.
Bappa and Sumon were pushed in the wheelchair race and both received prizes.
Moni chose not to participate and sat to watch.
Thank you to Dev Ambuly our amazing dance teacher for his work at shuktara and to the team at RJ Photography & Films for shooting this video for our puja celebrations.
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!
We celebrated Holi on Friday, 18th March, which is always looked forward to and enjoyed by everyone.
Our Dance Tutor Dev Ambuly (see photo above) came over especially to visit the two homes and as you can see, our new Puja is thoroughly enjoying herself in her new surroundings at Lula Bari.
The initial group of shuktara residents who received their first vaccine have now received their second and everyone who lives and works at shuktara continues to be well.
You may remember that Pappu chose the group who spend more time outside the homes to be vaccinated, in the hope it would protect them, their families and the more vulnerable ones that are in Lula Bari and Anna Bari. This seems to have worked and as I said – everyone is and has always stayed well.
Our hopes and dreams of the Shuktara Cakes Café are happening slowly, with teams here and in Kolkata working to make sure everything is done properly, legally and safely.
Pappu will be working with a consultant who has already set up three cafes in Kolkata. They will prepare a thoroughly costed business plan and budget so the Shuktara Trust UK trustees can ensure the cafe can operate cost effectively both in the short and long term.
I really appreciate all the support you have shown since 1999 and now that things are safer the UK trustees and I will be able to get together soon to discuss fundraising strategies to continue supporting the homes, ensuring that they have more than sufficient funds for shuktara’s annual running costs and get the Shuktara Cakes Cafe off the ground.
Of course, any of you that wish to run marathons or help us in any way – please get in touch!!!!!!!!!
My very best wishes
We have another Puja at Lula Bari!
This is Puja Basak who has been living alone in a small room after the death of her parents.
The other residents from her building who have been looking after her got in touch with Pappu as the landlord wants to rent the room.
Some of them came along with Pappu to see Lula Bari, her new home.
Puja is happy to be here with the rest of the shuktara family to start a new life which will be a little more busy than it has been for her living alone in her small room.
We look forward to seeing her thrive.
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.
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.
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!