Wednesday, March 23, 2016

6000th patients received at the Shravan Health Center

The first week in March 2016 marked the 6000th patient treated at the Shravan Health Center! From its inauguration in August 2015 the Shravan Health Center, the only medical clinic operating in the Bhaskar Naghar slum neighborhood of 200,000 people has served 6000 patients.  This first six month period has achieved some amazing accomplishments:
  • Patients included more than 4000 babies, toddlers and children between 5-12 years of age
  • Illnesses treated included: Fever, respiratory infections, breathing problems, and skin infections (Scabies, fungal infections etc)
  • The Shravan Health Center has become an official tuberculosis treatment facility (DOTS) in the Kalwa slums by the local municipal government. Dozens of TB cases are being treated at the Shravan Health Center.  Read more HERE
  • Hundreds of women have received prenatal and antenatal care
  • A robust outreach program has been established and 4 local women residents are being trained to take vital medical measurements during home visits in the community. As part of the outreach program a complex community mapping project is underway and findings are shared with the medical clinic and municipal bodies.
  • SHC's in-house pharmacist Mr Price Ja has been busy distributing medicines and vaccinations at heavily discounted costs and for free for many of the basic treatments.
  • The Center's hygiene partner, Sundara, has distributed hundreds of bars of quality recycled bars of soap and is launching a community run hygiene awareness class in the coming months.

Gabriel Project Mumbai is grateful for the hard work of our partner Doctors For You, in making the Shravan Health Center a source of accessible, affordable and quality health care for the residents of Bhaskar Naghar.

The SHC was made possible with the support of the American Jewish Distribution Committee, The Estelle Friedman Gervis Family Foundation, Altico Capital India, Awakening Women’s Institute, Modern Trousseau and Sundara Fund

Thursday, March 10, 2016

GPM brings Humble Smiles and oral hygiene to underserved children in India

Hundreds of vulnerable children in communities around India received oral hygiene education for the first time in their lives through a new initiative of Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM) and Humble Smile Foundation. During an initial four-month pilot Oral Health Education  program, GPM and Humble Smile worked with 600 children –  500 from 20 rural villages and 100 children from urban slums – and provided training for 24 teachers using the education curriculum developed by Humble Smile.

Dental diseases, such as tooth decay, gum diseases, malocclusion of teeth and oral cancers, are major health problems for Indian children. In addition to physiological risks, these diseases can cause intense pain and psychological stress that prevent children from learning properly in school. However, research shows that these problems can be prevented and controlled to a large extent by public education towards fostering good habits.

Dr. Darren Weiss, dentist and President of Humble Smiles Foundation, conducted an initial survey of Indian children and found extreme problems among the children in the slums. Many children he found had completely rotting and falling-out teeth due to lack of basic oral care. Humble Smile Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Humble Brush Company, donates environment-friendly toothbrushes to children in the developing world, along with a uniquely developed curriculum aimed at changing children's habits. The approach, developed by Dr. Weiss and his team, is interactive and hands-on, making sure that the children practice their new skills every day in order to change long term habits and behavior.

"The children in [the village of] Shirsonpada have never used a toothbrush," said Sandip Bhoye, GPM Love2Learn teacher in Sukhadaba Shirsonpada. "They were so excited with this new Hmble Smile Oral Health Program that they wanted to take their toothbrushes home so that they can brush their teeth before going to bed as well as at school before eating their lunch. This program is really needed in this area."

"Through the Humble Smile pilot project, the children in our Love2Learn education program, have been given tools for changing the way they care for their teeth," said GPM Director Jacob Sztokman. "These are things that children in the west take for granted – such as brushing teeth regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste. It is such a simple way to change the children's lives for the better."

Plans are now underway for expanding the pilot. For more information, or to sponsor this project, contact GPM.

Darren Weiss, President of Humble Smile Foundation and a dentist talking about oral health in a REAP class in a Mumbai slum

A Love2Learn class in the village of Raipur brushing their teeth after lunch

Oral Health raining in the slums
Bendgaon village. 'Its cool to brush!'

The Love2Learn class in Bendgaon village

Teacher Kalpana with her class in the village of Chalni

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A day out in nature with the children from Kalyan

Last week the GPM-JDC local Indian Jewish interns had a fantastic day with the children from distant slums in Kalyan. When the bus arrived at the Mumbai JCC, the interns along with the newly arrived GPM-JDC Entwine JSC cohort met the children with fun and educational games. The activities were well uniquely designed to boost the children's self-esteem & build confidence. This was followed by a fun drawing & coloring activity also revolving around the same theme.

The group took a short bus ride to the beautiful Mahim Nature Park where they ate a nutritious   Maharashtra lunch is  a midst the stunning scenery and the singing of birds. After lunch the children explored the nature around them – a very different setting to the polluted slum where they live.  There was a special designated tour guide who taught the children a fascinating introduction to the distinctive variety of flora &  fauna found in the park. The nature trek was an amazing experience for the children who were captivated with  the beauty of the tress, the insects & butterflies and hearing the birds chirping.  The tour was extremely interesting & very informative and the children were excited and engaged.

No one wanted the day to end but as the bus pulled out of the park the local interns and international fellows felt a strong bond to the children and the children left with new big dadas and didis (brothers and sisters) they were hoping to see again soon.

A big shout out to REAP and its teachers who escorted the children from Kalyan and for Maayan Shapurkar of the JDC India, Leya Elias from GPM and Eliana Phansapurkar for all their help on the day.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Running for Gabriel Project Mumbai

London native Victoria (Tori) Kahn volunteered at Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM) in the Fall 2013 teaching non-formal education classes to children living in the slums. Tori is running the Paris Marathon on 3rd April to raise money to support GPM.

"There were numerous incredible experiences which made lasting impressions. In particular I grew
Tori and Shravan
close to Shravan an 8 year old boy, so keen to learn, with an infectious smile and loving nature," Tori explains. "Shravan sadly passed away a couple of months after I left India. He died of an undiagnosed illness, the kind that most Western children would recover from after a couple of days of treatment. One Friday morning GPM volunteers noticed that he wasn’t his usual vivacious self, and he said he had a headache and fever. That night he passed away.

GPM has set up a health clinic in Shravan’s name (Shravan Health Center) to prevent other children suffering in the way he did. If Shravan had accessibility to this kind of healthcare he might still be with us."

Tori is running to raise funds in support of life-saving medical treatment provided in the Shravan Health Center.

"I would love your support in helping me get through the tough 26.2 miles I have ahead of me. Any donation you would like to offer, no matter what size will be truly appreciated."

Gabriel Project Mumbai is a project supported by the UK charity Tzedek and donations made will be used to fund the health clinic.

Please support Tori on her marathon run:

Welcome to GPM Spring 2016 Session - JDC Entwine Global Jewish Service Corps fellows

Naomi is a recent graduate from Yeshiva University where she studied Psychology and English. She is pursuing career in Forensic Psychology and currently works as a victim advocate and as a research assistant studying addiction and substance abuse. Naomi's long term goals are to work with children who are in the legal system. Naomi is a very passionate and creative person, she paints, dances, teaches yoga and is on various sports teams.

Avigayil, 23, is from Modiin Israel. She studied in the local 'Yachad' school with a mixture of religious ans non-religious student body that teaches the values of tolerance and pluralism. She matriculated with 5 units of Physics, Psychology and Arabic. As a teen she volunteered in the 'Noam' youth movement, counselling 3rd-6th graders and participated in the American day camp 'Ramah'. She took part in a mechina - gap year in the north of Israel 'in Emek Hamaayanot' where she was one of 50 pre-army recruits. After that Avigayil served as a commanding officer in the Intelligence Unit in the IDF for 3.5 years, supervising a team of soldiers. She loves travelling with friends, volunteering, sport, music and art, interesting books and a good cup of hot chocolate.

Layah wants to live a life in which no stone is left unturned. Curious, empathetic, and spirited, she seeks experiences that deepen and widen her human understanding. Layah's love of writing and art led her to study English literature and art history at Lander College for Women, a small, private Jewish women's college in New York City. She is proud to have been an active student on campus, organizing Israel Advocacy events, National Poetry Month readings, and even founding her own club, "Ladies of the Round Table". In her senior year of college, she served as Vice President of student government and ran a month-long initiative called "Project Beautiful," to promote awareness of self-bullying. Simultaneously, she founded a grassroots online lit and culture magazine, interned at Writopia Lab, and attempted to study Latin. After graduating, she spent a semester in Israel beforereturning to NYC. She currently writes content, takes photographs, maintains social media pages and updates website information as the Web Coordinator and Online Content Writer at Lander College. She also works part time in sales at AuH2O Thriftique in the East Village.