These polaroids seem to capture the individual spirit of each of the girls and young women who live at Lula Bari.
Thank You Caroline De Penning for spending so much of your time at Lula Bari and for taking these wonderful photos for the girls to treasure.
Caroline comes regularly to our girls home to do fun activities which have included hair and make-up and often other beauty parlour things.
We also appreciate the involvement of Kolkata International Womens Club and their support of our girls. This year they are paying school fees for all of the girls who attend REACH.
Visitors and friends have expressed a very loving interest in how Puja is progressing.
She is now enrolled at REACH school in their Autistic Unit, which she is loving. She has found her own place there in the classroom where she feels safe (as she does at home) away from the noise of people around her and where the teachers can easily interact with her.
She laughs now and when she does it feels like outbursts of joy.
She has the care and attention of the staff at Lula Bari as well.
Puja is definitely at home and safe.
Last week Pappu was really busy with paperwork for admission to REACH school for Puja and Guria. He had taken photos of Guria and Puja and had written deep descriptions of their needs and abilities. We were expecting them to get admission after the Summer holiday in June.
Sometimes things happen fast in India - Pappu was able to get both girls enrolled immediately and they started on Monday (3 April 2017).
Of course Guria is loving it because she is completely delighted with each new experience. Puja is feeling more and more settled and she loves going out to school every day.
The girls' interaction with other people is of primary importance. In school they are learning to be in different situations and coping with different experiences outside of their home. This is just one of the ways they will become part of their community.
Our friend Emma Christmas has visited us at shuktara a couple of times. On both her visits she has made sure that her priority is to spend time with the girls. On Wednesday 22nd March she came with Simon her partner.
They brought lots of things from London and had a great afternoon on this short stopover visit. Emma did a makeup session with the girls. They also brought balloons and cut and paste people to play with. It was a wonderful afternoon and we were all happy to see Emma again. The girls especially love her.
Bridget Scott has been to Kolkata before, but this is the first time she has danced for shuktara.
Bridget is from London and lives in Kyoto, Japan where she has been studying two Japanese dance forms: the avant garde style of Butoh and a very traditional form known as Nihon Buyoh.
On Friday evening 24th February 2017 Bridget came to shuktara boys home and performed a selection of Buyoh and Butoh for the young people from both of our homes on our rooftop.
The staff had decorated the roof with saris and placed beautiful textiles on the floor for everyone to sit on.
Bridget started with Buyoh and then did Butoh and some improvisation where she removed her obi (the tie around her waist) and ran around and in between the young people and staff of shuktara allowing them to hold and touch the obi as she ran.
It was an exciting, emotional and interactive performance and deeply moving as well because it was the night of Maha Shivaratri here in India.
We thank Maura Hurley for introducing Bridget to us and special thanks to Bridget who had a heartfelt wish to perform for our young people. We appreciated it. THANK YOU!