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SOFKIN children recently celebrated the Sankranti Festival, a Hindu festival celebrated in southern India from Jan. 13 – 15. Sankranti is a harvest festival that marks the termination of the winter season and the beginning of a new harvest or spring season. Most schools close for one week in honor of the festival, providing an opportunity for children to go home to visit their families – one of two times during the year that they do so. (The other home visit occurs during the one month summer break between school terms in May.)
Although many SOFKIN children go to visit their families during Sankranti, some have no families to go to. These children who remain at SOFKIN along with the children of housemothers are taken on a special outing. This year they started the day by visiting the white marble Birla Hindu Temple in Hyderabad, followed by a picnic lunch in a beautiful garden and then a Telugu movie (probably the highlight for the children!) When the other children returned from their visits, a SOFKIN-wide Sankranti celebration was held. The children wore new clothes (generously provided by SOFKIN donors) and enjoyed a special meal and lots of sweets prepared by the house mothers. During the daily group discussion period before evening prayers, they also listened to a special talk about the festival and its significance by one of the older students.
SOFKIN took part in celebrations for Republic Day, the national holiday that honors the date in 1950 on which the Indian constitution came into force, completing the country’s transition to an independent republic. (Independence Day, observed on 15 August, celebrates the nation’s independence from British rule on 15 August 1947.) As part of the Republic Day preparations, the children participated in school competitions in debate, essay writing, mehandi (intricate skin decorations also known as henna that are applied primarily to the hands and feet during festivals and weddings) and rangoli (beautiful and ornate drawings and patterns on the ground with colored chalk or flour).
The SOFKIN Youth Group (SYG) of New jersey held their first meeting for the year. The meeting was moderated by SOFKIN board members and lead by Mahima Kakani and around 15 high school students that included current and future members attended the meeting.The team discussed about upcoming annual fundraiser in June and also about potential local fundraising events for SOFKIN. Stay tuned for future updates…
Composed by: Barbara Whitmore
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