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SOFKIN turned 15 years old this year! Some of SOFKIN’s children have been with us since almost the beginning and are growing into amazing young adults. This is one of our occasional blogs where we highlight their individual stories. Today we’d like you to meet Jagdish.
Jagdish came to SOFKIN when he was 7 years old. Because of domestic violence in the home, his mother brought him to SOFKIN, along with his 5-year-old brother, so that they would have a chance at a better life.
Shortly after the boys arrived, they both came down with chickenpox and had to be hospitalized. Jagdish recalls this as a very scary time – being in an unfamiliar environment and then having to go to the hospital. However, an equally clear memory is that “Amma Chaya” stayed with them the whole time, providing reassuring support and love.
Jagdish describes his teenage years at SOFKIN as somewhat difficult. Like many boys his age, he wanted to go out with his friends, attend late night parties and be on social media as much as he could. And he didn’t always appreciate the limits and restrictions that were placed on his behavior!
However, he started sending emails to Chaya whenever he was feeling low, had gotten a bad grade or was having trouble with other kids at SOFKIN. She would always respond immediately, in spite of the time difference between New Jersey, USA, where she was located, and India. This often resulted in long phone calls, during which Chaya would offer specific advice, as well as love and support. And he would always feel better. With Chaya’s patient and firm guidance, as well as the structured, but nurturing environment at SOFKIN, Jagdish was able to successfully navigate his teenage years.
When Jagdish was in the 8th grade, he made his first video, a Mother’s Day video for Chaya. Recognizing his potential, Chaya encouraged him to make an introductory SOFKIN documentary – and Jagdish was hooked. He had discovered his life’s passion. Chaya arranged for him to get the equipment and video editing apps he needed, thanks to the generosity of SOFKIN supporters. Jagdish was initially largely self-taught. He remembers staying awake late at night planning out his next videos.
Jagdish honed his skills and interests by working on many of the SOFKIN videos featured on the website and at events such as RHYTHM and SONGFEST. He spent many hours learning the equipment and developing an eye for finding the right places to cut and join the videos. You can see his work on the SOFKIN YouTube channel.
Upon graduation from high school, Jagdish entered the Electrical and Video Engineering College. After successfully completing this 3 ½ year program, he received his diploma in 2020. Chaya then arranged a 6-month internship at PamTen, Hyderabad as a motion designer and film editor. This was followed by a 6-month advanced editing course.
With these educational credentials and internship experience in hand, Jagdish applied for a full-time job at Harsha Devi Productions as a video editor and designer – and was hired after the first interview! He now enjoys working on a variety of commercial projects, including product shoots, architectural projects, and wedding videos. Although his short-term goal is to gain more and varied experience, his long-term goal is to work in film editing.
Jagdish moved out of SOFKIN in April 2022 and is now living back home with his family. Because SOFKIN was there when his mother urgently needed help caring for her two young boys, his parents were able to sort through their problems. And, with his earnings from his full-time job, Jagdish is now able to contribute to the family’s support. Jagdish’s story is an example of how SOFKIN’s vision “to support the upbringing of underprivileged children” has a ripple effect for the whole family.
Even though he no longer lives there, Jagdish visits SOFKIN every Sunday to play with his younger SOFKIN brothers and sisters, listen to their stories and offer motivation, encouragement, and support. He says he will always maintain a connection to SOFKIN and try his best to support those who are coming up after him.
Ever since Chaya helped him discover his passion for video production and editing, Jagdish has had a clear vision of what he wanted for his life and detailed plans and milestones for achieving that vision. Although he was able to dream big and possessed initiative and perseverance, SOFKIN made all the difference in his actually being able to follow his dreams. Jagdish is very grateful for all he has been given and looks forward to continuing to build a very full and engaged life.
The support and generosity of supporters make Jagdish’s and other stories like this possible. Sharing what you can helps us continue to guide those in our care from childhood into becoming wonderful, caring adults.
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