Back to School – But Staying Safe
The children of SOFKIN are focusing their attention on school.The new school year for elementary and secondary students began in the middle of June. Because of the pandemic, classes continue to be offered online, with homework sent through the What’sApp phone app. Online learning continues to present many challenges - as it does in the U.S. - but India has even fewer resources to deal with them. Most teachers are not equipped to do distance learning, the online platforms are not satisfactory and inadequate equipment leads to bottlenecks.
SOFKIN is working with the school to minimize these challenges. The elected group leaders at SOFKIN are also assuming responsibility for coordinating assignments with teachers for students in their care. Because of the many challenges, however, SOFKIN is exploring various educational options going forward.
SOFKIN Students College Numbers Grow
We are very proud of the twelve SOFKIN students who are pursuing post-secondary education. They are taking up studies ranging from Junior College programs in Technical Education and Civics Economics Commerce; to Bachelor Degree programs in Political Science and Computer Science; to Masters Degree programs in Social Work, and Zoology. One of our students, who is completing his final year in college, has secured a paid internship in movie editing – bringing him closer to realizing his dream of joining the competitive field of film editing. Another student of SOFKIN, who always dreamt of becoming a world famous chef, has been accepted to the International Institute of Hotel Management, a very prestigious college in India.
As we reported earlier, an Education Fund has been set up to help all of SOFKIN’s children pursue their dreams for a better life. Our children are growing up. And because SOFKIN uses every opportunity to encourage them to pursue their dreams, many more are beginning to imagine – and work towards - going to college. Please help us make sure that financial concerns don’t limit what they are capable of dreaming and achieving. Donate to the Education Fund here.
Great Volunteers Make Great Music
An innovative tutoring program for girls at SOFKIN has been developed with the help of 3 New Jersey high school students: a modified STEM program for middle school girls who need extra help with math, science and English. The New Jersey teenagers became interested in volunteering, after learning about SOFKIN from their parents who are SOFKIN supporters. So far, they have helped 12 SOFKIN girls increase their math, science and English skills, since the program began 4 months ago.
The volunteer tutors hold weekly, one-hour video sessions for the middle school girls. They are supported at SOKFIN by older students, who monitor what is being taught and follow-up on homework assignments. This partnership between New Jersey and SOFKIN teenagers to help middle school students is an exciting example of young people’s desire to be of service and make a difference in the world.
Going one step further to help the children of SOFKIN, Anvi Charvu, one of the volunteer tutors, is also organizing “RHYTHM to Empower”, a fun and entertaining fundraiser to help build a library at SOFKIN. If you’ve “Got musical talent? Got a big heart?” you are invited to submit a video showcasing your talent. The videos will be uploaded to a YouTube channel, with a winner of the best video announced at the conclusion. Learn more about “Rhythms to Empower” here and join in with a donation, whether or not you feel you have musical talent.
Safety Always In Mind
We’re glad to say that everyone at SOFKIN remains healthy and well. As COVID cases spike in India, SOFKIN is doubling down on measures to keep our children safe. The health protocols for the children, including frequent hand washing and social distancing, are continually reinforced. The children continue to take their vitamins and health tonic (with ginger, turmeric, lemon and pepper boiled in fresh water) everyday to boost their immune system. Their temperatures are checked daily. The drivers are now sleeping at SOFKIN, both to prevent bringing the virus in from the outside and to be available for immediate transport of children or staff, if medical care is needed. Visitors to SOFKIN are not allowed beyond the front gate. Because of these and other measures, there have been no COVID-19 infections, to date, on the part of either children or staff.
Update from our sister organization – MAHER!
Finally, as many of you know, SOFKIN supports two group homes at Maher - our sister organization
in Pune - in addition to our boys and girls homes in Hyderabad. A recent annual progress report from Maher outlines the many activities and achievements of these children. Highlights include school-related achievements and events, holiday celebrations, sports competitions, cultural programs, and outings to local and regional sites. The children are reported to be happy, healthy and striving to do their best.
Our two Maher homes serve a total of 50+ children. Your donations and support, therefore, allow us to make a difference in the lives of over 100 underprivileged children at four SOFKIN homes in Pune and Hyderabad.
We remain ever grateful for your support.