Thursday, April 25, 2013

From the slums to Mumbai's Nehru Centre of Art and Culture

On Sunday April 21, JDC-GPM Interns, JDC & GPM staff and REAP teachers, traveled with children aged 7-12 from the slums of Kalwa to the Nehru Center in Worli, Mumbai. For all 40 children, this was their first time visiting metropolitan Mumbai. For most, it was their first time out of the Kalwa slums. So of course, this was the first time they were at a museum and it would be a day they will always cherish.

The JDC-GPM Internship Program, an innovative four-month long volunteer opportunity for young Jewish Indian professionals and students, work with the children of the Mumbai slums to make a meaningful difference and a positive impact on their lives. Through an organized program of social and learning experiences the participants of the JDC-GPM Internship Program provide an informal, motivational setting to encourage social and personal growth for children with limited opportunities. Find out more about The JDC-GPM Internship Program here

The bus ventured out of the slums towards Mumbai. Ten minutes after leaving the slums, the children were overhead speaking to each other in amazement as they saw some of the tall modern buildings that dot the more influential parts of Mumbai. They understood that the people living in theses apartment buildings had water, electricity and food in their homes while the children’s family’s homes had none of these ‘comforts’…

The Nehru Centre houses 14 galleries that make up the Discovery of India Exposition, covering every aspect of artistic, intellectual and philosophical attainment of India through the ages. Its 50,000 exhibits and interactive audio visual displays, determine, true identity of the country. The Centre was chosen specifically to introduce the children to their India. The interactive exhibits brought to life prestigious Indian personalities like Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore and Akbar. The most impressive part of the museum was the professionally made movie, ‘Who Are We?’ that traced the incredible history and development of the Indian people throughout the ages. We wanted the children to be exposed to the many cultures, religions, traditions and people that are part of their identities as citizens of India. We wanted the children to appreciate that they were significant members of the multicultural and ethnic makeup of their wonderful country. We wanted to instill in them the idea that they are important and that they can contribute and thrive in their society.

The museum and the beautiful gardens surrounding the centre were idyllic locations for the fun activities prepared by the Indian Jewish counselors.  The well developed program, masterfully led by JDC-GPM Intern, Jennifer Jacob, was well-structured and the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The children enjoyed the games and learning activities facilitated by Tahl Mayer, Salome Abraham and Sigalith Isaac of the JDC and GPM. Everyone appreciated Elijah Jacob, Director of JDC India taking time out of his busy schedule to interact with the children, especially as he brought chocolates for all! Once again, the JDC sponsored a wonderful nutritious breakfast and a nourishing lunch; something that the children did not take for granted! 

The JDC-GPM youth are important actors of social change. They are special people giving the equally special children living in the slums the message that they are loved, that they can follow their dreams and thrive.
Jennifer leading an activity

Salome showing a boy how proud she is of his work

Salome and Tahl with the children hard at work

Tahl and the kids at the Nehru Centre

Mr Elijah Jacob and friends

No comments:

Post a Comment