Safety, Songs, and Celebration
Safety First in the Face of COVID
As COVID-19 continues to devastate globally, with India being one of the countries severely affected, we are very grateful that all the SOFKIN children and staff are healthy and safe. This is due in large measure to the diligence of everyone in strictly following COVID-19 prevention protocols. The local child welfare committee has reached out to SOFKIN to see if they could provide temporary shelter to destitute children who have no one to care for them because both parents are sick or hospitalized with COVID.
SOFKIN’s CSR Manager, Madhupama, is helping to raise domestic funds. She has also collaborated with the local magistrate office and police officials to identify the children that need shelter and people who are severely impacted by COVID and in need of medical kits. We are very thankful to all of those who have already donated to this cause. We had planned on 200 kits to distribute. We can now expand that number to 500 with the donations collected from India and the US.
As we explained in our recent appeal to SOFKIN supporters, you are able to help SOFKIN offer this much needed service. For donations please click below.
Songfest Semi-Finals coming soon!
The SOFKIN Songfest, Competition with Compassion, is heading towards its Semi-final Round on May 29th. This fundraising singing competition began on March 30th, with 96 contestants uploading videos in “Classical” and/or “Light” categories. Thirty eight very talented young people and adults have made it to the Semi-finals. The Semi-finals will be a live virtual show, televised on TV Asia Telugu, YouTube, and other social media streaming channels. It is also the first time that public live voting (text-to-vote) will be a part of the judging criteria. So, be sure to tune in on May 29th for the live show and support your favorite artist by voting for them. And you won’t want to miss the exciting Final Round on June 19th!
A special thank you to all of our sponsors that are making Songfest possible.
Celebrating Women and Mothers
Three events in the past couple months have celebrated women. On March 3, the Women and Child Welfare Department organized a virtual Women’s Day Celebration for girls in child care institutions licensed by the department. All of the SOFKIN girls participated in the event. Child Welfare Committee members shared their views about the purpose of celebrating Women’s Day, and also communicated emergency phone numbers that the state government has set up for the protection of women.
On March 8, SOFKIN held its own Women’s Day Celebration planned by the SOFKIN boys. Beginning with the HARATHI welcoming ceremony for the girls, the event featured speeches about the importance of this day, the everyday challenges and discrimination faced by women, and the importance of women’s strength and willpower. All the boys took a pledge to respect, support and empower the SOFKIN girls, and they expressed gratitude and gratefulness towards Chaya Amma. The day also included fun activities for the girls, all organized by the boys. In order to give the women staff members a break, the boys cooked all the food. Everyone enjoyed the special meal of puri and potato kurma curry!
At the end of the fun filled event, all the children took an oath together to support the women in their lives.
On May 9 (Mother’s Day in the U.S. and India), the SOFKIN children surprised Chaya with a special Mother’s Day celebration. The one hour event included a skit, dances and a special video honoring Chaya. Each child and young person also made a promise to Chaya to improve their behavior in some way. Here are some of there promises:
“I promise that I will take more responsibilities, I will be truthful to you and I follow the schedule without miss”
“I promise that I will not cry for small things and I will not fight with others and I will respect my brothers and sisters.”
“I promise that I will be Active and Eat Healthy to Improve well-being,I will learn new things everyday.”
“I promise, I will not make mistakes. If I do, I will learn from my mistakes.”
Chaya was very touched by this Mother’s day event of love and devotion.
School and Health
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the government has mandated that all child care institutions conduct monthly Health Camps. Because SOFKIN has already been conducting Health Camps, they were readily able to arrange for a team of a doctor and two nurses from a nearby hospital to conduct health checks at SOFKIN for all the children and staff. Results of all the screening tests were normal. In a subsequent Child Welfare Committee audit, SOFKIN was commended for keeping accurate, complete and up to date health records on everyone.
Although the children were briefly able to attend in person classes in February, all educational programs returned to online learning as the pandemic worsened in the past several weeks. With everyone online, the 2020 - 21 school year ended on April 30. The children are now on a summer holiday schedule, although no one is able to leave for a home visit as they normally would have done. The new school year is scheduled to start on June 1. In our next blog, we’ll talk about what the children are doing during their summer break, as well as some exciting plans for the next school year. So, please stay tuned!