Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trailing Shuktara

Discovering Deaf Worlds (DDW) is an opportunity to give deaf people worldwide a voice. Founded in January 2007, this organization travels the world to learn and share stories of empowerment, inspiration and connection between international Deaf communities.

DDW's first documentary film, is the remarkable story of 18 boys and girls in Kolkata, India who were given a new chance at life after being abandoned by their families or escaping abusive homes. While many non-governmental organizations in India often overlook homeless children who are deaf or have cerebral palsy, Shuktara embraces them.

"(Before), they were written off as incapable of learning, developing as individuals or integrating into society," says Shuktara Founder, David Earp. "(Now), the boys and girls grow in every sense - physically, in confidence, in skills, in communication."

Shuktara is a home filled with love that seeps into your heart. Instead of being reckless, aggressive and angry, these kids show affection, gratitude, and support for each other. They have created a family of their own. The home is run by David Earp who has become a a good friend of mine here and his dedicated friend Pappu. They are doing fundraising to be able to purchase the house where the boys live so that they can ensure a PERMANENT house for the boys, and hopefully next, the girls.

About 8 months into the worldwide trip by members of DDW, they made it to Kolkata at last - and were introduced to David, Pappu and the boys and girls at Shuktara. They said that they were so touched by the energy of the house and the family-like environment that has been created there that they decided to return. Out of over 100 organizations in 8 countries that were visited and documented, Shuktara was the only place they returned to. They spent a total of 5 weeks with Shuktara, and two interns from Galladuet University with language development training. DDW intends to work with Shuktara from here on out--a lifelong commitment to continue providing deaf role models and language development teachers to further the communication skills of all of these children---though many of them are no longer children!

Please have a look at this heartwarming video -- I look forward to the full-length that is due out soon and will be shown in NYC and Rochester, among other places. If you have an interest in supporting Shuktara in some way, please be in touch!

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