Celebrations and Understanding
The SOFKIN homes are always busy, and the past few months have been no different! They’ve been filled with celebrations and learning opportunities.
Festivals and Celebrations to Show Honor
There have been many events, festivals and celebrations over the past few months. All the children and young people of SOFKIN celebrated International Women’s Day in March. The celebration began with a welcome harathi, after which everyone took an oath to respect and honor women. Chaya participated virtually from the U.S. and spoke about the importance of women in our lives. Others expressed gratitude for the women they knew –
family, friends, teachers, and guides - who had helped them grow and thrive. The SOFKIN boys also planned and held activities that included singing, speeches, and skits.
April featured two festivals - Ugadi and Ramadan. Both of these religious days (the Hindu New Year and the Muslim festival of renewal) were celebrated with food, activities, and reflection. It is also a reflection of SOFKIN that all faiths are to be celebrated and respected upon.
Mother’s Day is always a special day at SOFKIN. The children honor not only their mothers, but their house mothers and Chaya, as the women who provide care and love to their lives.
Understanding Gender Balance
About twenty young people at SOFKIN, aged fifteen years and older, attended a Gender Sensitization Workshop. The goal of this three-day workshop was to affirm that every gender is equal and deserves equal opportunities, and that gender discrimination and violence are never acceptable. The teenagers enjoyed participating in a wide variety of activities, including a truth mandala, life river, word healing, and asking open-ended questions in a circle. Through these and other activities, the teenagers increased their awareness of gender-related issues and gained self-confidence in their own unique identity. Overall response to the workshop was very positive, with participants feeling that they really benefited from what they learned and their time together.
Friends, Visitors, and Surprises
After many months, Chaya came to visit which was a wonderful surprise for the children. She was greeted with many hugs, smiles, and warm embraces.
The children enjoyed sharing stories about their life at SOFKIN, human values and respecting what we are receiving at SOFKIN, and Siddharth shared with them the importance of understanding human values and respecting what they have at SOFKIN. It was a wonderful day for everyone.
In fact, many visitors have been coming to SOFKIN over the past few months. It is nice that supporters and friends are now able to come and see everyone again. Mr. & Mrs. Madan Pamula, both devoted supporters of SOFKIN came to visit. The children were also visited by Vivek, who is a volunteer that has helped with the RHYTHM fundraisers, came to visit with his family.
The children were also honored to have longtime supporter and prime sponsor, Mr. Allan Lobo, and his friends come to visit. The children honored Mr. Lobo’s mother with a ceremony lighting a candle by her picture. Everyone enjoyed the visit and shared stories about their lives and how bright the future is for the children thanks to SOFKIN.
Positive Health and Welfare
As of the end of April, all of the SOFKIN children that are eligible have been vaccinated for COVID. The government recently released the second vaccination for 12 – 14 year olds, which SOFKIN took advantage of. And all the young people over the age of 14 have received their second vaccination. SOFKIN continues to keep in place the COVID prevention protocols that keep everyone safe.
The State Child Welfare Committee staff recently completed an inspection for a permanent license for SOFKIN at our new address. They checked for compliance with standards related to record keeping and transparency, health and sanitation measures, and living conditions. The CWC officials were very happy with what they found and provided much positive feedback. SOFKIN received verbal approval for the permanent license and will receive the written document in the near future.
Support that Inspires
As you can see, SOFKIN is always full of celebration, learning, and providing the utmost care to these wonderful children. Your continuing support inspires all of us to continue to do our best and bring joy to the world and each other. Sharing what you can will help us continue to guide those in our care from childhood to adults.
If you prefer to write a check,
please be aware we have a new mailing address:
2 Research Way, 2nd floor
Princeton, NJ 08540