Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The incredible impact of the Dr. Gerald J. Friedman Infant Malnutrition Intervention Program

Six months ago, the Dr. Gerald J. Friedman Infant Malnutrition Intervention Program was established in the slums of Mumbai.   The Estelle Friedman Gervis Family Foundation, provides emergency nutritional intervention to save the lives of 300 malnourished children under the age of five. The malnutrition program takes place at the GPM Shravan Health Center.

We are happy to announce that 85 infants have been treated thus far, and all of their families received nutrition counseling.
 Of all the infants that were treated, there was a 15% increase in weight. We look forward to continuing this wonderful program. 

The malnutrition program was conceived by the doctors in the clinic, who were concerned about the high incidences of malnutrition that they encountered among their patients. This is a harrowing problem in the slums.  According to the World Bank, the prevalence of malnourished children in India is among the highest in the world, and has dire consequences for the children. Malnourished children are more likely to have infectious diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, which lead to a higher mortality rate, and to have stunted physical and mental development.

Read more about the Dr. Gerald J. Friedman Infant Malnutrition Intervention Program here.

Meet Ranjani Sharma, an inspiring local GPM teacher

Teacher Ranjana Sharma
Teachers make all the difference. We could not succeed in our work to educate these incredible children living in the slums and underserved rural villages without the dedication from our local teachers. These women and men come to the classroom everyday with a smile on their faces ready to teach, support, and love their students. 

Hayley Dsouza, the GPM educational supervisor in the Kalwa slums, sat down and interviewed Ranjani Sharma, a young teacher with a lot of determination and passion to ensure her students succeed in and out of the classroom, "I want my students to be smart, active, and bold. I don’t want them to be shy...I want them to not only learn their subjects at the GPM 'Love2Learn' classes, but to feel brave enough to come up in front of the class and discuss what they are thinking."  
Children standing next to their beloved teacher

The children living in the Kalwa slums grow up under difficult and challenging conditions. The GPM Love2Learn education network and their teachers provide them with security, nutrition, health and nurture throughout the year, "I want people to know that children don’t only come to learn what is in their books, but also to learn ideas and information from volunteers who teach about hygiene and they experience so many learning moments here that are not from books. I want these children’s parents to know this..they learn so much about life while in school" Rajani added. "It is important for the children to enjoy what they  experience in school and share it with their friends and family as it makes the whole community stronger."

When Ranjani is not teaching at GPM, she enjoys visiting her ancestral village and extended family there.

We are extremely grateful for the passion and dedicated work of Ranjani and all of our other hardworking teachers. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Famous Indian chef, Moshe Shek, meets the Masala Mamas

Moshe Shek, the founder of the famous "Moshe's" cafe-restaurant chain in India, generously opened his teaching kitchen school, 'A World Away', to the women of the GPM women's empowerment group. 
Chef Shek lending some cooking advice
Mr. Shek and his staff gave cooking lessons to the sixteen women from Kalwa who produce and deliver hundreds of meals to children in school every day, in order to help them improve their techniques and learn from one of the most successful chefs in the country. 
The women traveled by boat to Mr. Shek's retreat at Awas for the day -- some of whom had never been on the water before -- and were treated to a lovely day of learning, eating, and relaxing in the beautiful country setting . Many of the women were so used to serving others that they had to get used to being served by the staff. 
"This was one of the best days we have ever had," said Indu Mane, one of the managers of the women's cooperative. 
Mr. Shek and his team taught the women four new recipes, which the women will incorporate in their work. The women are the catalysts behind the GPM "Eat 2 Learn"  that provides children with hot meals in school -- a strategy that keeps kids in school, alleviating hunger, illiteracy and child labor in the Kalwa slum. It is a win-win model for social change. 
The recipes will also be included in the forthcoming cookbook, "Masala Mamas: Recipes and stories from Indian women changing their communities through food and love." The cookbook, brings forth women's food experiences as well as recipes, in order to to share with the world their story of social change. 
Having fun in Chef Shek's Kitchen 
"It was so beautiful to be on the receiving end of Mr. Shek's incredible generosity," said cookbook editor Elana Sztokman. "Food takes on the energies of the people preparing it. Mr. Shek gave of his heart to support the women, just as the women give to the children with their hearts every single day. This is about food as a vehicle of love, and it was so wonderful to experience that with Mr. Shek." 
The cookbook "Masala Mamas: Recipes and stories from Indian women transforming their communities through food and love" is set to be released in December 2017. You can reserve your copy here and become a sponsor of the project. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

First Ever Medical Student Internship at GPM

Standing inside the Sharvan Health Clinic
For the first time ever, GPM welcomes three fourth year medical students from the United Kingdom. Lucy Lewis, Sally Maryosh and Elkie Ben Hur have arrived in India and their work has already begun. During their four weeks in India they will be working at the GPM Sharvan Health Center  in the Kalwa slums, in the villages with the GPM mobile clinic and with  Doctors for You, in Mankhurd - central Mumbai. 

Sally and Lucy are completing their medical studies at the University of East Anglia while Elkie is attending the medical school at Liverpool University.

Sally says she is excited to learn more about how the health care system works in developing countries, “It is amazing work that the doctors and volunteers do here and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to truly understand India’s culture and health system and the diversity of life here.” 

Students learn about health
The medical interns learn about the differences between urban slum health and rural village health and the challenges that Indian doctors face on a daily basis.  They will be working to establish protocols for various infections and sicknesses that will greatly benefit the Sharvan Health Center and Doctors for You. They also get the privilege of working alongside Dr. Pravin Rathod during their time in the villages.  

Lucy Lewis explains how she knew she wanted to have an enriching medical experience for her internship, “ I was really hoping to go to India; I wanted to do something different, and I did not want to spend my month in a hospital. I wanted to throw myself in at the deep end and have a once in a lifetime opportunity to utilize my medical skills in a helpful and productive way. I am also particularly interested in community medicine, especially the care of women and children.”

The three interns have just completed teaching several classes of children in kalwa about good health and hygiene.  

"We feel very fortunate that Lucy, Elkie, and Sally chose GPM as their elective internship, says Samantha Klazkin, GPM Associate Director, "and we hope that this experience stays with them throughout their medical careers."

Performing health-checkups for pre-school children at GPM pre-school

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Samantha Klazkin joins GPM as Associate Director

We are so excited that Samantha Klazkin, 25, has joined GPM as its Associate Director. Currently living in Jerusalem, Samantha graduated from the University of Florida in 2014 with a degree in International Studies and Communications and later was a volunteer with GPM during the summer of 2013, and as she says, “loved every moment of it.”

Samantha in 2013 as a GPM Fellow
After graduating from University, Samantha moved back to South Florida to work for AIPAC and then followed in her parents’ footsteps by moving to Israel.

At GPM Samantha’s role is in programming, communications, partner relations and supporting innovative development work in the field.

Samantha’s favorite memories from volunteering are: “walking into the classrooms each morning and being greeted by so many smiling children, exploring India, and being immersed in Indian culture. “

Speaking about her new role at GPM, Samantha says, “I am so happy that I am part of this incredible organization.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New GPM Village Kitchen Feeds over 500 Children

As part of the GPM Love2Learn Program in under-served tribal rural villages in India, a new central kitchen was opened in the village of Ashte, Palghar. The kitchen serves 20 surrounding villages (over 500 children) with healthy meals on a daily basis. During the months of January to June, the villages suffer with a severe drought, making food very scarce. Consequently, many of the village residents are malnourished. The children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition, so it is vital that the village has a stable supply of food for the young students.
Children eating the meals that the women prepared for them

Women preparing the food for the young students
The central kitchen in the village was modeled after the GPM central kitchen in the Kalwa slums in Mumbai.The Ashte kitchen provides employment to women who live in the village by hiring them to cook the meals for the children. This kitchen is a place where women can come to talk, laugh, and prepare meals all while receiving a stable salary for the first time. It brings a sense of pride and empowerment to these special women who know that their hard work will keep the village children in school.

The nutrition program supplied by the women in the Ashte kitchen and distributed to 20 village GPM classes is an important way to maintain overall health, increase attendance and cut down of child labor.

A big thanks to our partners Sundara and Humble Smile who support an overall hygiene program for the children in the GPM Love2Learn system; quality nutrition and good hygiene go hand-in-hand to foster good health for 500 children.