Safe, Healthy, and Busy
With the coronavirus now spreading across India, SOFKIN is diligently following all of the coronavirus prevention precautions, as Chaya Pamula reported in her recent email. We are happy to report that all of the children and staff are healthy and doing well. One of the welcome benefits of SOFKIN’s new home is that it is away from congested areas and has a large courtyard, so even while engaging in social distancing, the children can play, exercise, and get fresh air.
Because the children are now home every day, they have a schedule to study from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. Their afternoons are kept busy with many different activities that include various indoor games, art and craft lessons by Jhunu, our Project Coordinator. Recently the older children gave a 2 day break to the housemothers by taking on the complete responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, clothes washing, etc. This allowed the housemothers to enjoy some well-deserved down time. This experiment also served to have the children appreciate how much the housemothers do for them every day!
Sacred Space And SOFKIN Friendship
Up until the children were confined to the SOFKIN property because of the coronavirus, they enjoyed a number of activities at the Sacred Space Dance School. SOFKIN has had a long-term partnership with the founder of Sacred Space, Ms. Naintara, since she visited SOFKIN shortly after it was established over 10 years ago to offer free Odisi classical dance lessons. Ms. Naintara also provides opportunities for SOFKIN dancers to perform at various public events.Sacred Space has expanded its offerings and our children have attended workshops on Kalaripayattu (an Indian martial art), hand embroidery, yoga, and construction projects using natural materials, such as mud. Of special interest was a workshop on soap making. Ten children learned to make soap with just 3 ingredients: unprocessed coconut oil, water, and caustic soda (lye). Using this new skill, they plan to incorporate soap as one of the products for sale in the Spoorthi Production unit at SOFKIN. Soap will also be made for the SOFKIN children, as it is free of chemicals and good for the skin.
Funds Raised Through Facebook Campaign: Sew Special
Another new activity at SOFKIN is sewing and tailoring. Over the 2019 holidays, a SOFKIN Facebook campaign raised over $1,700 – including a very generous donation of $1,000 from SOFKIN friend, Mr. Phil Vivirito – to purchase materials for two pairs of nightclothes for each child. The clothes were to be sewn by Mr. Apparao, the Warden in the boy’s building, who is a professional tailor. The goal was to have one set of nightclothes ready by the state New Year’s Festival on March 25. The children were thrilled to receive the nightclothes from Mr. Apparao on schedule, as part of their New Year’s Festival celebration!
Mr. Apparao will now begin offering sewing lessons to the older SOFKIN children. We were very pleased to receive a recent donation of two sewing machines from the CHETANA Foundation, which was organized by Ms. Naintara of Sacred Space. Combined with two machines that were donated earlier, SOFKIN now has four sewing machines, which Mr. Apparao and his students will be sure to put to good use!
Science, Studies, and the Future
SOFKIN students also enjoyed participating in Science Day, an annual event at the Pudami School, where all the SOFKIN children are enrolled. Their creative projects included a movie projector, a water boat, and a water purifier - all made from common household items - as well as presentations on the environment and good health practices.
We are starting 2 major funding projects: A college fund will help cover tuition fees, books and professional exam fees for the increasing number of SOFKIN children who are going on to college. A marriage fund will help cover expenses that would normally be covered by a girl’s family as she approaches her wedding day. This would include expenses for a modest wedding, as well as things needed to set up a new household, such as kitchen equipment and supplies. Having some financial resources will allow our girls to maintain some level of independence as they marry, rather than being completely dependent on the husband’s family. To donate to these important funds, please click here and specify which fund you would like to support.
The children continue to pray every day for all those affected by COVID-19 around the world. As always, we are so grateful for your contributions and continuing support. Stay safe and well!