Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy Diwali from GPM!

Courtesy of The Sun UK
October 19th marks the holiday of Diwali, meaning 'series of lights.' Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists around the world are celebrating the triumph of good over evil; while marking the return of Ram, the lord of virtue, to his kingdom after 14 years of exile.

In Mumbai, one can tell it is Diwali because there are beautiful fireworks in the night sky and candles lit everywhere. In India houses are cleaned, people dress in their finest clothing, visit family, and exchange gifts. The celebration lasts for five days.

The GPM children had a big Diwali celebration in class before their holiday break. They had drawing competitions, and danced around to traditional music.

On behalf of the GPM staff, we wish all who are celebrating a happy Diwali!

GPM children drawing their interpretations of Diwali

GPM teachers dressing up for Diwali party

Happy Diwali sign outside the Joshua Greenberger Learning Center in Kalwa
*To learn more about Diwali read: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4221379/diwali-2017-date-hindu-festival-when-how/

Friday, October 13, 2017

It's exam time!

Can you remember that feeling of an upcoming exam in school? Sharpened pencils, folders filled with worksheets, and butterflies in your stomach.

GPM understands that children's self esteem can go down during exam time. We put in a lot of effort to make sure our students feel confident and positive before and after their exams. It is important that they feel encouraged to keep learning and trying even if a subject does not come easy to them.

After receiving the exams, the teachers are better able to understand where their emphasis should be focused. Everything is done in a positive and encouraging way, and the children know that if they work hard they will succeed. And whatever their results are, the students know that their teachers are there to support them, motivate them to do better and celebrate their victories.
Middle school aged children taking  exams

Student consults teacher with question 

Teacher Haylee giving exams to the preschoolers

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Two Prominent Mumbai Newspapers feature stories about GPM


GPM women getting interviewed by Mid-Day 
 GPM is thrilled to  be featured in two local, Mumbai newspapers.  Mid-day Newspaper and Better India, both well-known newspapers, chose to publish articles about GPM's work in the Kalwa Slums and under served villages. Jacob Sztokman, founder of GPM, regards the articles as an act of true community activism, “When the wider community takes an interest in the community development work that we are doing, I feel as if GPM’s mission of community building is coming to life.
Picture of the Newspaper Article


The articles discuss GPM’s work with underprivileged children, but mainly focuses on its women’s empowerment initiatives. Both writers journeyed to the Delicio kitchen, located in the Kalwa slums, in order to sit down with the GPM women and learn about how they prepare meals for the local school children. Krutika Behrawala, of Mid-Day, wrote,” The women work in rehearsed sync. They've known each other for eight years. Most of them live in one room-kitchen tenements neighboring chawls.” It was very inspiring to have reporters come and interview these women. They mostly come from small villages outside of Mumbai, so to have their stories shared to all of Mumbai and the rest of the world, is a very special experience for them. 

These women's stories are of empowerment and hard work. It is important for their communities to see the benefits of empowered young girls and women. 




Monday, October 2, 2017

Job opportunities for our GPM young adults

Staff from Meluha Hotel briefing the Life Learners 
In underprivileged areas, it is common for children to leave school (as early as elementary school) in order to work to help their families earn money to survive. To combat this issue, GPM provides nutritious daily meals to students so that parents can keep their children in school. The Life learners Program, is a recent initiative that GPM started in June 2017, to help educate young adults who left the education track. Initiated by the JDC-GPM Summer cohort of volunteers, the program has been very well received, and the young adults are eager to catch up on what they have missed. Several students in the Life Learners Program have been encouraged to go back to school and continue their studies.
                                                                                 
Life Learners with GPM Volunteers

Meluha Hotel (a local Mumbai Hotel), recently approached GPM with an idea. The Meluha Hotel is a GPM partner who specifically collaborates with  Naya, our paper recycling program. The hotel wanted to speak to our young adults in the Life Learners Program to let them know about available job opportunities at the hotel and career tracks in hospitality. A manager from the hotel came to the GPM Joshua Greenberger Learning Center in Kalwa and presented the Life Learners with an outline of what education is required to move up in the hotel world, and the best entry level jobs to start their paths. 


We are extremely appreciative and proud that Meluha Hotel took the time to speak to our young adults. This is community development at its finest. GPM strives to ensure that all of its work is done at the local level. Our students are  taught by local teachers and our clinic is run by local doctors and nurses; so it is a dream come true that our young adults are being given opportunities to work at a local hotel.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New!! Safe Drinking Water for 1000 families in the Slums


GPM is proud to announce the inauguration of our new water initiative program,  Jal Jeevan Hain meaning “Water is Life” in Hindi. This program will provide 1,000 families with safe drinking water in the Bhaskar Nagar neighborhood of the Kalwa slums where GPM operates.

Savita Mishra testing out the water system






Safe drinking water is nearly impossible to find in the slums of Mumbai. Residents of the slums collect water for drinking and cooking from wells throughout the slums. Unfortunately, the bore wells are dug poorly and are extremely dangerous because they are contaminated by sewage. The fuel needed to boil this contaminated water is expensive, so people are forced to forgo that process. They have no choice but to drink this water, which carries bacteria that causes disease and many life threatening illnesses. 


GPM partnered with Indian companies and NGOs to implement this new water system: Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment, Rotary club of Deonar, Mumbai, and Andal Cares. Local residents under the supervision of Savita Mishra operate the system that uses an RO clear filter unit. Runoff water can be used for other purposes such as washing clothing and cleaning dishes. 

At the inauguration GPM staff, community members, GPM Love2Learn teachers, officers of the Eureka Forbes Company, Delicio Women Cooking Co-operative members, Naya Paper Recycling staff and representatives from GPM's partner organizations Sundara and Doctors For You were in attendance.

"Water is a basic human necessity. The people living in the slums need and deserve clean water for everyday use. We are proud that this new system is being implemented and 1,000 families will now have access to safe drinking water, and we hope that we can expand this project in the future." explains Jacob Sztokman, founder of GPM.  
GPM India Director, Kenneth Dsouza, cutting the ribbon for the site





Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Heroes for Life visits GPM

It is a right of passage for young Israelis to take a long international trip after completing their IDF service. Often times, they find themselves backpacking through third world countries such as South America, India or Nepal. These young adults want to give back to the communities they visit, so they join Heroes for Life in order to make their post army experiences even more meaningful.

“Heroes for life” was created by Captain Gilli Cohen who had been listening to many of his soldiers discussing their plans for travel after the army. The soldiers expressed interest in doing something meaningful for a week or two while backpacking overseas – and he decided to take action. He met with people, formed a committee, and opened a Facebook group which quickly garnered over 4,000 members. Finally Gilli contacted GPM for assistance, as well as the Israeli Consulate in Mumbai, and all together they formulated a plan and launched their project. 

Geography lessons


Every year in August the former soldiers come to India for a service-oriented experience in a community center in central Mumbai. 

They also teach the children in the Kalwa slums in classes run by GPM. 

Everyday for two weeks, a group of around 15 volunteers come to the Joshua Greenberger Learning Center and teach the GPM children. The 2017 cohort taught the children lessons on science, geography, manners, and nutrition. The children could not get enough of these "heroes," and came to school excited everyday. 



Jacob Sztokman, founder of GPM is always excited when Heroes for Life comes to volunteer "We are very happy when the Heroes for Life come and share their knowledge and experiences with this children.  This is their third year with us. This specific service partnership is extremely important to us." 

Heroes For Life group picture with GPM staff 
GPM looks forward to more Heroes for Life groups to come work with us in the future.
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Stay tuned for two upcoming blogs in Hebrew from Heroes for Life participants who taught in GPM classes!