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.