Monday, March 30, 2015

GPM joins the new Jewish Service coalition OLAM

GPM has been invited to join the newly formed Jewish social justice initiative, OLAM, a shared platform to promote global Jewish service. OLAM, created in partnership between the Alliance for Global Good, Pears Foundation, and Schusterman Family Foundation, that was launched this month in Tel Aviv, aims to strengthen Jewish volunteering and service learning, international development and social justice advocacy by supporting vulnerable communities around the world.

“It is thrilling to be part of this wonderful new collaborative effort that includes so many amazing international service-oriented organizations,” said GPM Founding Director Jacob Sztokman at the OLAM opening conference held at the Tel Aviv Hilton last week, where he facilitated a discussion group about developing empathy in communities.

“It was exciting to be with so many people who care so deeply about development work,” added GPM alumna Rose Pollard, who also attended the conference, where she shared her experiences as a GPM Entwine fellow volunteering in the slums of Mumbai.

OLAM will serve as a field-building resource, championing, coordinating and educating for the benefit of existing organizations, practitioners, and volunteers. It will expand the global Jewish community’s awareness and philanthropic support of these fields; build and strengthen practitioner networks to facilitate sharing knowledge and best practices; and grow the number of volunteers and practitioners and direct them to development work around the globe.

Click HERE  for more information about OLAM

Thursday, March 19, 2015

GPM shares development lessons with Glocal students

“Never give up hope. There is always something you can do to make a real difference in the lives of others. If you live with your heart open, you can find a way to reach out to those who need and make a real change.” These words, written by GPM founder Jacob Sztokman, were featured in a special magazine dedicated to educating students and former-students around the world about community development. The magazine, produced by the Glocal Masters’ Degree program of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, highlighted the work of GPM, and was shared with 30,000 people around the world who work in development.

The current Glocal cohort includes students from Congo, USA, Brazil, Uruguay, Serbia, Uganda, Palestinian Authority and Israel. Jacob is also a proud student, and is scheduled to graduate in January 2016.
“Glocal has been a phenomenal place for me,” Jacob says. “I have acquired vital knowledge and theoretical expertise, engaged in stimulating discussions about development work around the world, and most importantly met the most inspiring people who are all dedicating their lives to making the world a better place. I’m deeply honored that Glocal chose to feature the work of GPM. It means so much to me.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Special chocolates: Sweet volunteering with special women

GPM-Entwine fellows volunteered last week with developmentally challenged women at Om creations in South Mumbai. GPM fellows worked side by side with Om members to create and package chocolates for sale throughout Mumbai.

Om Creations is a NGO founded to provide professional training and support to women born with Downs’ syndrome and other mental disabilities in order enable the women to work professionally and be fully active members of society. The organization is self-sustaining, with baking, handicrafts, painting, and more.

The GPM volunteers, together with the women of Om Creations, made hundreds of chocolates for business clients.

“The women of Om Creations were extremely friendly and welcoming, which inspired us and made the work fun,” said Leya Ellias, GPM Program Director. “We were all talking and chatting the whole time, and it was a great environment.”

This was the first collaboration between GPM and Om Creations, and plans are underway to continue this project and expand opportunities for collaboration.

Friday, March 6, 2015

When Purim and Holi fall out on the same day!

This year, the Jewish holiday of Purim and the Hindu holiday of Holi (Duli Vadan) fall out on the same day, highlighting some fun and some serious shared aspects of the two cultures. Both holidays are colorful and exuberant, with people turning the streets upside down in playful festivity. In Holi, Indians celebrate by throwing bright colored powder (Abeer) on each other, while on Purim, Jews celebrate victory over the destructive Haman by dressing in costume and make-up and sending sweets to each other.

Another major shared characteristic of the two holidays is the idea of standing up to evil in order to achieve great good. On Purim Jews revel in Esther’s courage to stand up to a powerful tyrant bent on genocide. During Holi Hindus commemorate the salvation of a pious son (Prahlada) over his tyrannical demon father. Through the Purim Seuda and Holi Milan, celebrants emphasize the ideas that people belong to the same global human network, connected by a commitment to goodness and determination to act in the face of evil. As Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Happy Purim and Happy Holi to us all!

Emily during Holi
Purim party at Chabad of Mumbai

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Food Packages for Needy Families in Mumbai this Purim

On the eve of Purim, Gabriel Project Mumbai volunteers, JDC India staff and members of the Mumbai Jewish Community came together to assemble mishloach manot and matanot levyonim packages - holiday gifts and food packages for 50 poor Jewish families and elderly. Packages consisting of basic staples such as rice, lentils, oil, flour, salt, sugar, milk and tea, were delivered to fifty families in the Jewish community. The money for the project was collected from GPM alumni and friends. The current cohort of international volunteers spent the day with local Jewish youth on packaging and delivery throughout the city of Mumbai and the district of Thane. A lot of fun was had by all!

Sharing Ideals: Gabriel Project Mumbai and Tzedek UK

Education, Service, Development and Care are four principles shared by the UK based organisation
Tzedek and Gabriel Project Mumbai’s activities in the slums of India. Tzedek is the British Jewish community’s response to extreme poverty. Tzedek ensures the community plays its part through practical support to local partners in Ghana and India; always aiming to help some of the world’s poorest help themselves out of poverty. Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM) is an innovative project providing nutrition, literacy support, health and hygiene to children in the slums of India.

Tzedek and GPM have a deep respect for each other’s work and are beginning to build mutual support. Through the sharing of educational resources and by providing volunteer opportunities, we will work to promote awareness, service and development for vulnerable children and communities facing the many challenges of extreme poverty.

This is a great opportunity to advance the core value of tikkun olam in the developing world.

To find out more information about Tzedek’s activities go to