As we begin a new year, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the major achievements of 2019 in the SOFKIN journey. Below are some of the highlights from this amazing year. You can read the full annual report here.
Home, Family, and Inspiration
The biggest achievement, as we described in our November blog, was the completion of the new buildings for the boys and girls, and their move into their modern, spacious and beautifully designed new homes!
Of the 20 new applications for admission to SOFKIN in 2019, we were able to accommodate nine children, including three pairs of siblings. This brings the total number of children served to 57 – 27 girls and 30 boys. With our increased capacity in the new buildings, we look forward to serving many more children in the coming year.
The move to the new buildings allowed SOFKIN to create a Production Unit, named Spoorthi, which means “inspiration”. The purpose of the Production Unit is to exhibit the creative talent of SOFKIN children, teach them new craft-making skills and provide fund raising activities. Products made since Spoorthi’s inauguration in October include: diya lights – painted and decorated mud-clay pots used in the Diwali Festival of Lights; jewelry, including lovely silk thread bangles, necklaces and earrings; and delicious homemade chocolates. The children were excited to offer their handiwork at three area businesses in the fall, selling out much of their inventory. Hopefully, 2020 will bring them the opportunity to expand their offerings – and their market! Stay tuned!
Our College Students are Thriving
When a child comes to SOFKIN, they are encouraged throughout their lives to follow their dreams and pursue an education. We are very proud of the growing number of SOFKIN students who are currently at various colleges such as Vasundhara Junior College, ITI COPA (Computer Operator and Programming Assistant) program, Swami Vivekananda Institute of Technology ECE (Electronics and Communication Engineering), Koti Women’s College in Political Science and others.
Another SOFKIN First!
SOFKIN celebrated its first wedding in December! Kranthi got married on 6 December, with all of the SOFKIN children in attendance. Kranthi has long been a role model for the children. He was one of the first children to be admitted to SOFKIN as a 9-year-old boy, who had been selling tea on the streets. He was the first to graduate from college and secure a good job at PegaSystems as a software engineer. Now, financially independent, he bought a flat for his parents and owns a car, while he continues to support SOFKIN as a child sponsor. Attending the wedding reception - along with hundreds or other guests in a beautiful wedding palace - the children of SOFKIN could, indeed, believe that any dream is possible.
Travels, Visits, Events, and Celebrations
Several special activities were organized for the children in the past year. Among them was the second annual Sports Day in January - a full day of sports activities attended by all the children and staff from SOFKIN, as well as staff from PamTem Hyderabad – and an interactive session on self defense for girls at SOFKIN in April. In September, a Dental Camp at Army Dental College was again held. All of the children and staff were screened and many received needed treatment. The children and staff then traveled to Warangal, in October, to visit the 800-year-old Ramappa Temple and 1000 Pillars Temple. The children reported that they really enjoyed the long distance bus ride – especially since “Amma” (SOFKIN founder Chaya Pamula) was with them - and learning about the history and artistic features of the temples from their tour guides.
SOFKIN children also had many opportunities to participate in various school and interschool events. Several SOFKIN students won prizes in sports competitions, including carroms, track events, football and Kabadi. Others won prizes for essay writing, participating in a skit, singing and dance.
Finally, many festivals, birthdays and anniversaries were celebrated at SOFKIN in 2019.The children not only enjoyed these gatherings of their SOFKIN family, they played an active part in planning the activities. As a non-sectarian organization, everyone participates in a variety of religious celebrations, as well as national holidays and occasions – including SOFKIN Foundation Day on 29 July. There is also a monthly party for all the children whose birthdays are in that month. In the past, the birthday cakes were bought from a bakery. Now the cakes are prepared by Parmesh, our in-house chef, who aspires to be a professional chef. The children have loved his creations!
As always, we are deeply grateful for all who have made these achievements of the past year possible. We’d particularly like to thank our long standing sponsors and donors, including our friends and family, and all the wonderful sponsors and attendees at our annual US fundraiser, RHYTHM. With your continued support, the children of SOFKIN can look forward to even brighter days ahead.