So Much to Celebrate

Festive Beginnings to the Year

SOFKIN began the new year in a festive mood with the celebration of Sankranti on the 14th of January.  This three-day Hindu festival, which signifies the end of winter and beginning of planting season was full of activities for the children.  They danced around the campfire in the morning, decorated the house with beautiful and colorful rangoli floor designs and enjoyed different kinds of traditional sweets.


The celebration concluded with a cultural event on the third day.  This event was attended by SOFKIN board members, Venkata Chalam, Lakshman Kandarpa, Dr. Seetharam, Uday Shankar Peyyeti, and Prasad Tenjerla, along with Chaya, who was visiting SOFKIN for two weeks.  Also participating in the event were eight of the SOFKIN alumni – children who grew up at SOFKIN, graduated from college, gained job experience, and are now supporting themselves and living independently – who live in the Hyderabad area.  The SOFKIN alums shared stories of their time at SOFKIN and joined the younger children in the ramp walk. 

Birthday Celebrations

A special thank you to board member Lakshman Kandarpa, who has generously sponsored all of the birthday celebrations throughout the year as he did in 2023. These celebrations include birthday cakes, snacks, and birthday sashes making their day extra special.  Mr. Kandarpa organized picture frames of celebrities that also have birthdays in that particular month as an inspiration to the children. 

A Most Special Visit

Everyone at SOFKIN was very happy that Chaya was able to make an extended two-week visit in January/February.  In addition to getting to know the 10 children that had been admitted since her last visit, she involved all the children in several activities.  She cooked for the children every day and reorganized many spaces in the house – all with help with the children – played games and led the celebrations that took place during her stay.

Chaya also made a point to meet with the parents or guardians of the children during her visit.  In order to maintain family connections where possible, parents or guardians are invited to attend a monthly meeting at SOFKIN.  The meeting begins with a lunch provided by SOFKIN, during which SOFKIN staff talk with the parents/guardians about their children and what’s been happening at SOFKIN.  They are then encouraged to spend some personal time with their child(ren).  Strengthening family ties is one of the important ways that SOFKIN supports and nurtures the children in their care. 

A Favorite Day Returns – Sports Day!

The annual SOFKIN Sports Day was held on the 26th of January.  As in past years, the Forest College and Research Institute generously offered their grounds for the sports competitions.  The chief guest for the event was Ms. Priyankaa Varghese, Dean of the college. SOFKIN board members and graduates were also in attendance.

Because the Sports Day coincided with the national Republic Day holiday, the event opened with a flag hoisting ceremony. All the SOFKIN children were then divided into groups. Junior and senior boys and girls competed in a 100-meter race. They also participated in five team events, including a relay race, kabaddi, volleyball, throw ball and kho-kho.  Not to be outdone, the younger girls and boys took part in several fun games, including lemon and spoon, ball walk, a running race, and musical chairs.  Prizes were given to the winners of all the events by Chaya and Mr. Lakshman, SOFKIN Board Member. 

A special feature of Sports Day was the participation of volunteers from the three offices of PamTen in the Hyderabad area.  Because of the unique partnership between PamTen and SOFKIN, PamTen employees often support SOFKIN events. A highlight of their involvement in Sports Day was a cricket match between SOFKIN children and PamTen staff.  Although the PamTen team won the toss, the SOFKIN team was very excited to win the match!

The SOFKIN Family Grows

Enrollment at SOFKIN has reached a high of 90 children for the first time.  During the month of January, seven new children, ranging in age from 5 to 18 years of age, joined us.  Contributing to this increase are continuing referrals from the District Child Welfare Committee.  SOFKIN has an exceptionally good reputation with the CWC as we are consistently in compliance with all their rules and regulations.  Because we are family oriented, we are also willing to take siblings where most other NGOs are not able to.   

SOFKIN strives to keep siblings together and always has. A teenaged boy who was placed at SOFKIN by the CWC and his sister is placed at a different organization.  She is his only living family member and he did not get to see her for a long time.  SOFKIN arranged a very joyful reunion between the siblings during the Sankranti festival. 

We continue to be so grateful for the many donors and sponsors who support us in this important work!

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