Sunday, February 18, 2007
MUSTARD SEEDS • CALCUTTA 100 CLUB
While visiting the US last year, my sister Margo and I mapped out a project for the Mustard Seeds fund-raising effort called Calcutta 100 Club. Our aim was to financially assist the village patua artist, Karuna Chitrakar, and her family in building a sturdy-but-simple mud house on some land that she acquired several years back in her village of Pingla, Naya in Medinipur.
Margo collected approximately $240 from her friends in Batesville, Arkansas and I sold some of Karuna’s paintings and other Indian handicrafts to raise approximately $600 for Karuna and other organizations in Kolkata while I was in Chicago and Florida (and Japan in November).
Planting another Mustard Seed -- The following people helped to build a house!
Margo Baker and Family • Suzanne and Charlotte Schaeffer • Tad McNulty • Mary Clock • Sandy Taylor • Gayle Ross • Beckey Dickey • Robin King • Linda Baker • Jayne McClure • Charlotte Finney • Cindy Kallshick • Sue Ellen Dial • Angela McMahan • Robin Martens • Melissa Cooper • Pat Collins • Rehana Huq • Jan Fujikawa • Deborah Bachmann • Yukie Kaneshiro • Rashmi Ramaswami • ˙Helen Tsatos
Karuna worked out the details of the house construction, while coming back to us to report her plans. In the end, she decided to take out a loan to make it a bit bigger than what was first planned. Her family is already able to live in their house; but the mud walls need to be done later.
We (our friend Bikram, Hiromi who was visiting from Japan, Joydev and I) visited them in mid-January and were treated to sweets, a huge lunch, and a walk about the village!
Mustard Seeds seeks to introduce the traditional art form of pata scroll painting to a wider audience in the hopes that both the paintings and the painters can persevere. Support and encouragement to rural artisans and their traditions is another aim of our small efforts toward empowering people outside of the big cities. Thanks always for your interest and support!
For the next fund-raising effort we will collect for GODHULI, an adult education centre located in Nadia, West Bengal. Tarun Bhaduri who manages an organic farming initiative in this area organized this school approximately one year ago. It is open from 5:30 to 9:00 every night except Wednesdays and Sundays since there is an evening market which farmers sell at. Currently there are 29 students: 8 men and 21 women. They are learning basic literacy and can all now sign their names and write their address in order to sign important papers. They can all count up to at least 20. They are all day laborers, working in the fields which are gradually turning over to organic. A teacher's salary is Rs. 1000 (approx. US$ 20). There is one teacher working here at present, Mrs. Maya Mondal. They are also in need of teaching aids and materials such as pencils, notebooks, sample books, etc.
C/O Mr. Tarun Bhaduri
West Bengal 741223