The March Inauguration of the new SOFKIN homes in Hyderabad was a joyous event, as we reported in our last blog. The children were very proud that they kicked off the event with a cultural program that they organized and presented. They now eagerly anticipate moving into the new buildings.
SCHOOL & COLLEGE BOUND
The children completed their final school exams in April and have just finished their one month summer holiday. All of the children passed their exams, with many scoring in the 70 – 95% range. Admissions to schools near their new home have been arranged for all the school age children.
Four young people - Parmesh, Veena, Prakash, and Keerthi - passed their 10th grade exams with flying colors and are in the process of completing applications for college. They will join an ever growing number of SOFKIN children who are either currently attending, or have completed, college. It is heartening to see so many young people who we are being helped to realize their dreams.
SUMMER FAMILY TIME
Most children spent the May summer holiday with their families. This reflects a SOFKIN goal to reinforce bonds with family and extended family, so that the children do not forget their roots. As in past years, Chaya assigned the children homework to complete during the holiday so they don’t forget their studies. A few children didn’t have a safe place to go, so they stayed at SOFKIN and enjoyed special activities. For those that went to stay with their families for the month, Jhunu Auditto, Project Coordinator, and rest of the staff made surprise home visits to see that all of the children were well cared for and remained safe.
KEEP THAT SMILE GOING
A Dental Screening Camp was held at SOFKIN before the children left for the summer. It was done with the help of the Army College of Dental Science. A team of four dentists examined all of the children and staff. Ten children needed immediate care and were referred to the dental college for further treatment – most of these children have already received a second round of treatment. The rest of the children and staff had their teeth cleaned. Everyone received an orientation about how to take care of their teeth, including how to brush properly. After this successful beginning, the Dental Screening Camp is planned to be as ongoing service at SOFKIN.
While she was there for the Inauguration, Chaya led two workshops for the older SOFKIN children in middle school through college. The first workshop was in observation of International Women’s Day and focused on gender equality. Boys and girls sat together in a circle and, as they passed the Bhagavad Gita book from hand to hand, as a symbol of integrity, they took turns reflecting on two questions: What are two examples of ways you have received support from the other gender in your lives and what are two things you dream for in an ideal world where men and women live together in caring and harmony?
POWER OF DREAMING AND VISUALIZING
The theme of the second workshop was visualizing and realizing your dreams. Chaya first asked the children to share an experience where they imagined or visualized something and it actually came to pass. They then discussed the importance of having dreams and how believing in yourself and having positive energy and expectations help you realize those dreams.
The children loved both workshops and were completely engaged with each topic. They informed Chaya that they wanted more workshops in the future!
COMPLETING THE CIRCLE
The story of two recent admissions beautifully exemplifies SOFKIN’s mission – as well as the importance of our new homes, which allows us to serve even more children. The story begins with Meena, a young woman who grew up at SOFKIN and is now in her second year of a Bachelor of Social Work program. As part of her fieldwork to earn a professional social work degree, Meena is working at Childline, a 24 hour helpline for children in distress. Through investigating a referral to Childline, Meena found a mother and her two young children living on the street. The children – a boy, age 9 and a girl, age 7 – hadn’t eaten properly for over a week and were hungry and tired.
Because of her own background, Meena understood the dire circumstances that the family faced and also that the children could receive the care they needed at SOFKIN. Desperate for help, their mother was very grateful to learn about SOFKIN. Meena, therefore, facilitated the necessary permissions and paperwork from the Child Welfare office and the children were admitted. The housemothers report that they are adjusting well, that they are already happy and playful.
RHYTHM GETS A FALL BEAT
RHYTHM 2018, SOFKIN’s annual fundraiser, provides an opportunity for you to help us support destitute children like this brother and sister. The event this year has been rescheduled from June to the fall, because of the demands of the final building construction and preparations for the move. Look for more information to come and please plan to join us!