Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New GPM-JDC Indian Jewish internship cohort with a twist!

GPM welcomes the new cohort of six GPM-JDC Indian Jewish interns – with a twist. Three of the interns are from the Jewish Youth Pioneers, ages 18-23, just like all the past Jewish Indian interns. However, the other three volunteers are from an unexpected demographic: adult, mid-career , over the age of 40, Indian Jewish women  who have all developed a passion and burning interest in changing direction in the lives by helping children in the slums in various ways. The GPM-JDC internship gives them that opportunity and aims to support them in every way possible.

And there is one more unprecedented aspect of this cohort: One of the women is doing the internship with her son.  Annie Jacob, who has had a successful career as an HR professional and is active in the Jewish community, is now an intern along with her 20-year-old son, Ronel Jacob. “This is a great opportunity for us to give back to society,” Ms. Jacob said.

The cohort, which also includes Seema Dhokarkar, Shulamith Ashton, Meir Killekar, and Ivan Kasookar, began their internship in the beginning of January. In the context of the three-month internship, the interns dedicate 10-15 hours per week providing educational support to the children in the slums via informal education, hygiene programs, fun days, outings to museums, and more.

This week, for example, the interns took 31 children from the Suman Nagar slum to the Nehru Science Center to study the human body. The learned about healthy habits and hygiene, watched a movie, conducted experiments, all in a fun and educational atmosphere. The previous week, the topic of the week was courtesy and manners. The interns took 30 children from the slum to a public park in Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, where they conducted activities and games in nature teaching social skills and culture. 

Nikita Worlikar, a former intern who was so enthralled by the program that has taken on the volunteer role of internship coordinator, is thrilled about the new cohort. “This is an incredible group of people,” she said, “who bring a wealth of life experience and perspective to the important work that we’re doing. I’m so happy to have everyone on board.”

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