The new building is still rising! Chaya, recently back from a trip to India, reports that construction is progressing well. The 3rd floor slab in the boy’s building was cast while she was there and the same slab in the girl’s building is scheduled to be cast this week. This is a significant milestone, as the only other major structural element, a ½ slab for the roof terrace, will follow soon thereafter. One of the SOFKIN board members, Mr. Prasad Tenjerla also happened to be present when the slab was cast. Prasad said, “It was truly amazing to watch the building shape up where the dreams of many children are going to be realized!” Building the walls and internal construction should then happen quickly as the transformation from construction site to home truly begins.
Construction is due to be completed this December, with the building inauguration scheduled for February 2018. The children will begin moving in at the end of April 2018 and should be fully settled in by the start of the new school in June. Groups of children continue to visit the site every Sunday and their excitement is building! (As we reported in a previous blog, the housemothers hold a weekly “raffle” to determine which 8 lucky children get to take the SOFKIN van to visit the site that week.)
Underscoring the need for the new building, three new children were recently admitted to SOFKIN. An 8-year-old girl, and her two brothers, one of age 10, and the other of age 13, came to SOFKIN after they lost both of their parents. The siblings’ mother died of tuberculosis. Their father subsequently committed suicide because he couldn’t clear the debts the family had incurred. After the death of both parents, their aunt and uncle took the children to a hostel. However, the hostel authorities asked them to give the girl to them - only then would they agree to provide an education for the two boys. Although the aunt and uncle didn’t have the means to care for the children themselves, they ultimately refused the hostel’s offer, as they didn’t want to lose the girl. When the family finally heard about SOFKIN, they were “overwhelmed with joy.” The difficult circumstances that brought these children to SOFKIN are, unfortunately, similar to the stories of many of our children. We continue to be grateful for the support of our donors that allow us to offer them a different future.
One SOFKIN supporter, Raj Patel, and his daughter, Ria, hosted a fund raiser for SOFKIN on June 20, which raised over $3,000. Mr. Patel has been a dedicated supporter for many years; Ria developed a special connection to SOFKIN when she volunteered at the SOFKIN home in India last summer for 2 weeks. We are very thankful for their generous support.
SOFKIN celebrated two festivals during Chaya’s August visit. The first was Rakhi, a Hindu festival that reinforces the bond between a brother and sister. During the festival, each girl at SOFKIN tied a sacred thread – the Rahki – on the wrist of a “brother”, one of the boys in the SOFKIN family. Through this ceremony, the brothers promised to look after and protect their sisters, while the sisters prayed for the long life of their brothers.
Chaya and the children also celebrated Guru Purnima, a Hindu and Buddhist festival, traditionally dedicated to spiritual and academic teachers, when students pay their respects and express their gratitude. At SOFKIN, the children extended the traditional respect and gratitude to their housemothers and dance teacher, by giving them blessings, handmade cards, and small gifts. The festival of Guru Purnima also happens to coincide with the anniversary day of SOFKIN’s opening. To honor this aspect of the day, the children offered prayers and presented skits about their home, SOFKIN.
We’ve got exciting news coming up over the next few months, especially in October! We’ll be celebrating 10 years of SOFKIN providing loving and nurturing homes in Hyderabad India!