Reflections: Visiting the SOS Children’s Village in Cochin, India

A photo with some of the children, staff, and the people present from aXpire and LSG

As you’ll know if you read our previous article, Gary Markham, the CEO of aXpire, was recently in Cochin, India. It was a wonderful opportunity for the entire team in India to interact with him and understand his vision for LSG and aXpire. It was a great learning experience for all that were present.

During his India trip, aXpire, along with our sister company LSG visited the SOS Children’s Village in Cochin. For some of the attendees, it was their first visit to an orphanage, and they were intrigued to learn how it was run. During their trip, they often used the word “orphanage,” which the staff there corrected by saying that they don’t use that term; they didn’t consider these kids as orphans. These kids might not have biological parents present, but they have a family there and are certainly not orphans in spirit.

Some of the village’s children sitting on a bench
LSG and aXpire staff playing football with some of the village’s children

SOS Children’s Village uses a unique concept called ‘Family Homes’ which has a caretaker called the Mother. Each Family Home is comprised of around 8–10 kids, and each home is run like a typical family. SOS supports the kids throughout their entire education up to the age of 18 years, and in some cases up to age 21.

We were glad to learn that a lot of these kids have grown up to be doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs who have settled in life with a family of their own. We had the privilege of getting to know a woman who wanted to become a nurse, but, for various reason couldn’t become one. Instead, she became a mother, and with her selfless service, she has helped more than 20 kids who themselves grew up to become nurses. She was proud to introduce her big family comprising of more than 30 kids and 20 grandchildren.

aXpire CEO Gary Markham visiting one of the family homes
aXpire CEO Gary Markham handing out some chocolates to the village’s children

We had the opportunity to spend some time with these kids, playing with them, talking with them — and we and handed out some gifts, chocolates and t-shirts. We were honored to support a few of the village’s kids financially through an aXpire/LSG scholarship funding their education for a whole year. Both businesses will also be working closely with SOS administration on designing a 6–8-week internship program for a few of the children who are studying an undergraduate engineering program, giving them the opportunity of working with aXpire and LSG to kickstart their professional career.

One of the many happy memories from the visit was the kid who came running to speak to aXpire CEO, Gary Markham. He was not very fluent in English, but he always wanted to say something to him. He kept coming back to him and trying to communicate something. However, we were not able to understand what he wanted to say. After a long time, we finally understood. He was suggesting that Gary looked like his favorite Hollywood star Bruce Willis from Die Hard.

Two images of our dear CEO Gary Markham… or wait…
Gary Willis’ biggest fan posing for a photograph

Gary, being incredibly amused, offered the child a gift of his personal sunglasses, to which he happily accepted and posed for the photograph above.

For those of you that want to see the rest of the images taken during the visit, you can do so through this link:

If you want to donate to SOS Children’s Villages India, you can do so through the following link:

If you can’t donate, that’s more than fine. Nevertheless, we encourage you to be on the lookout for things that you can do to better the world. We aspire to inspire with humanitarian for-good and forward-looking initiatives.