After 9 months of lockdown and small sacrifices because of COVID 19, the children of SOFKIN have been looking forward to the holidays. Diwali, the annual Hindu festival of lights, was recently celebrated. The children lit Diya earthen lamps, created Rangoli art and offered special prayers. They also carried on the SOFKIN tradition of writing their mistakes from the past year on a piece of paper and burning them during the festival, with the promise of making a fresh start in the new year.
The children also enjoyed special food, prepared by the children and staff. They were particularly excited to have some traditional Diwali sweets - the first sweets they had tasted in several months because of their commitment to forego birthday cakes and other treats so that they could donate the money saved to buy food for needy families during the pandemic. We are very grateful to our generous supporters for donating the children’s’ sweets for the festival.
Although last year the children painted Diyas to sell as part of the new production unit that was established when we moved into the new building, it was decided to scale way back this year because of COVID 19. However, a company that bought from us last year asked if we could supply Diyas again this year, as they wanted to give them as Diwali gifts for all their staff. Though the order came with very short notice, the children worked very hard and were able to deliver the order on time. All together SOFKIN sold 836 Diyas!
And Double the Fun
This year Diwali and Children’s Day fell on the same day, so it was an extra special celebration. The Assistant Commissioner of Police and the Circle Inspector of the Keesara police station, along with his team, came and visited SOFKIN. They enjoyed interacting with the children and distributed sweets on the occasion of Children’s Day. They were very impressed with the grounds and how well kept they are, as well as the care being given to the children.
Since it was a day of double celebrations, a festive picnic was planned for the children with special food prepared by Parmesh, SOFKIN’s resident chef. There were also games and festivities enjoyed in the hills under a huge banyan tree. It was a very memorable day for everyone.
Bringing On the Holiday Cheer
We hope to make the Christmas season special for the children, and ask for your help by donating to the Christmas Fund. This fund will enable us to buy 1 small gift for each child – creative toys for the younger children and special books or learning arts and crafts for the older children. Because birthdays haven’t been celebrated all year, this personal Christmas gift will provide needed cheer and joy.
The Christmas Fund will also allow the children to continue the tradition of helping needy families during the holidays. Because most day laborers have lost their livelihoods due to the economic devastation of the pandemic, more and more destitute families are living on the streets outside SOFKIN’s gates. Our goal this year is to provide food for 500 families living on our neighborhood streets. As in past years, the children will help cook and package the food, although it will be safely delivered by SOFKIN staff members.
Growing Strong Children – and Vegetables!
The children have loved working in the gardens that have been established on the SOFKIN grounds. They diligently follow daily and weekly watering schedules, and recently harvested tomatoes and green leafy vegetables, along with a papaya. They harvest micro greens, such as mustard and fenugreek, on a regular basis.
They have also learned how to compost. Chaya taught them how to dig a hole in the ground and compost food scraps to use as fertilizer for the garden. These would normally have gone in the garbage. The children are pleased that their work contributes to a healthy diet, plus helps offset the steadily increasing prices of vegetables.
Holiday Shopping with a Smile
We’d like to remind you of a convenient way to support SOFKIN as you begin your holiday shopping. If you shop on Amazon, a portion of the purchase price can be donated to SOFKIN through the Amazon Smile program at smile.amazon.com. Please select ‘Support Organization For Kids In Need’ as your favorite NGO before you start shopping.