Family Bonding and Kindness Shared at SOFKIN
For the first time in 2 years, the children and young people of SOFKIN were able to enjoy a short home visit with their extended families and guardians in the fall. Because of the pandemic, they had been keeping safe at SOFKIN since 2019. The home visits coincided with the celebration of Dasara, a local Hindu festival, which allowed the children a week’s vacation. Although some children went home for seven days, special activities were planned for the children were remained at SOFKIN because they had no home to return to.
Celebrations through the Season
This is an annual celebration in Telangana, the new Indian state, in which SOFKIN is located. During the festival, the girls decorated statues of the goddess, using colorful seasonal flowers.
The beloved Diwali Festival of Lights was celebrated at SOFKIN in November. As in past years, the children painted and lit Diya’s – clay oil lamps – enjoyed special snacks and received new clothes.
They also continued the SOFKIN Diwali tradition of fasting, and then helping to cook and package food for 100 needy neighbors. The older children who were vaccinated distributed the food packets to people on the street. The experience was very moving for many of those who distributed the food, as reflected in short reports they were asked to write. One young person talked about wondering why a street person didn’t eat the food he was given, but then came back for more. He soon discovered that the woman was delivering the food to her hungry children who were waiting up the alley. Through this practice of helping others, the children saw first-hand how people are suffering to survive and expressed gratitude for all that they were fortunate to have.
At the end of the Diwali Festival, the children continued a final SOFKIN tradition of writing mistakes made during the past year on small chits of paper. The chits were then tossed into a bonfire and burned, allowing the children to start fresh, with intentions not to repeat the same mistakes..
Most months at SOFKIN the children are offered special meals and sweets, sponsored by donors, who are often commemorating loved ones. In November, Anupama, a child sponsor, sponsored full day meals in memory of P. Sathyavathi, Vijaya Kandrapa, former board members, sponsored lunch, and sweets on birthday of late K.S.V. Suryanarayana, sweets were sponsored by Swathi Pragnya, and Rashmi sponsored a dinner.
Heartfelt Tribute for a Cherished Friend
The children offered special prayers for the recent passing of Mrs. Mala Bhattacharji. Mr Siddhardh and Mala Mrs. Bhattacharji have been patron sponsors supporting SOFKIN for over a decade. “Mala’s passing touches all of us greatly,” stated Chaya. “She was always supportive of SOFKIN, not just with generous contributions, but with her kind heart, insight, and spirit as she always was inquiring about the childrens welfare. We would not have our beautiful building if not for Mala and her husband, Mr. Siddharth Bhattacharji. She will be greatly missed by us all.”
SOFKIN students and staff participated in several special classes this fall. Five high school students in the U.S. are offering online tutoring in math, science, English, and chess for SOFKIN students. All of the high school tutors are connected to SOFKIN through their parents. We are happy to be developing the next generation of SOFKIN supporters!
The children also participated in a number of online training sessions, some on Children’s Rights (sponsored by the Child Welfare Committee), as well as painting classes, and more.
Rashmi Gudapuri, Project Coordinator at SOFKIN, attended a workshop on providing psychosocial support and dealing with behavior issues of children. Conducted by UNICEF, the workshop also provided hands-on training in first aid and basic life support techniques.
Parmesh, SOFKIN’s student chef extraordinaire, has been accepted for a five-month internship at the prestigious Park Hyatt Hotel International in Hyderabad. The internship is part of his Hotel Management Bachelor’s Degree program, where he is in the second year of the three-year program. Working in the kitchen, Parmesh will be learning all the different aspects of being a hotel restaurant chef.
Jagdish and Sushanth are both interning at PamTen. Jagdish returns to work as part of the design and visual team, providing his expertise for visuals and video work. Sushanth is part of the IT and networking team learning about the inner workings of the IT field.
Holiday and New Year Appeal
This holiday season, we’d like to ask for your help providing a festive Holiday and New Year for the children with presents for they can use every day.
Although toys are always appreciated, we’ve recently had several donations that have provided an ample supply. With your kind monetary donation, we can purchase gifts of clothes, travel bags, books, bicycles, and other items that the children can use on a regular basis.
We are so thankful to our current child sponsors and donors. As the number of children are growing in the organization, we would appreciate having additional child sponsors. You can become a child sponsor here.
All of the children and staff at SOFKIN wish you and your family a very blessed Holiday and the Happiest New Year!