Thursday, October 19, 2017

A second medical clinic in the slums!

On the first day of the Diwali festival called Dhanteras, dedicated to prosperity and wealth, Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM) and Doctors for You (DFY) launched a satellite branch of Shravan Health Centre in Paunpada slums in Kalwa east, Thane. The festive inauguration incorporated a free health camp for 50 people from the locality. The centre will continue with General Out Patient Department and specialist OPD for Skin and Diabetes.

“The idea is to make medicines accessible for everyone,” said Dr Amit Kumar Nohwar, cofounder of the DFY Mumbai Project.

The new medical facility is a branch of the Shravan Health Centre launched by GPM and DFY in 2015 in the Bhaskar Nagar neighborhood about five kilometers from its new satellite branch.

“In a neighborhood of 200,000 people, there should be dozens of clinics providing accessible quality health care to its vulnerable communities,” explains Jacob Sztokman of GPM. “Unfortunately, this is not the case. The doctors at the Shravan Health Center recognized the need for an additional site providing health services and we with our partners Doctors For You took up the challenge “Accessible health care is a human rights and development issue. It’s also an economic and social issue. When children have access to basic medication and immunizations they are able to thrive, when their parents can receive quality treatment they are able to provide for their families.”

'Slum dwellers' often do not get quality access to healthcare and medicines likewise. That is why, such projects gain importance. “The reason we started with the project is to help the women and children in need, in particular. Now, they can access healthcare as well as quality healthcare at their doorstep. Anything that helps people would be a healthy initiative,” said Kenneth Dsouza, Managing Director of GPM.

Dr Nowhar adds, “Dhanteras is mainly for praying for good health. Hence, we launched the medical centre on this special day.”

The new medical clinic will provide hundreds of families with accessible quality and affordable (often free) health care. The expansion of services is due in part to the generous support of JDC Board Director Larry Field and Family of Chicago with the focus of providing a medical outreach service to the most vulnerable in the community. GPM and DFY are also looking forward to extend the treatment of infant malnutrition at the new clinic based on the success of the Dr. Gerald J. Friedman Infant Malnutrition Intervention Program at Shravan Health Center.

For more information and to donate for equipment, medicines and vaccinations, click here:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy Diwali from GPM!

Courtesy of The Sun UK
October 19th marks the holiday of Diwali, meaning 'series of lights.' Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists around the world are celebrating the triumph of good over evil; while marking the return of Ram, the lord of virtue, to his kingdom after 14 years of exile.

In Mumbai, one can tell it is Diwali because there are beautiful fireworks in the night sky and candles lit everywhere. In India houses are cleaned, people dress in their finest clothing, visit family, and exchange gifts. The celebration lasts for five days.

The GPM children had a big Diwali celebration in class before their holiday break. They had drawing competitions, and danced around to traditional music.

On behalf of the GPM staff, we wish all who are celebrating a happy Diwali!

GPM children drawing their interpretations of Diwali

GPM teachers dressing up for Diwali party

Happy Diwali sign outside the Joshua Greenberger Learning Center in Kalwa
*To learn more about Diwali read:

Friday, October 13, 2017

It's exam time at GPM!

Can you remember that feeling of an upcoming exam in school? Sharpened pencils, folders filled with worksheets, and butterflies in your stomach.

GPM understands that children's self esteem can be assulted during exam time. We put in a lot of effort to make sure our students feel confident and positive before and after their exams. It is important that they feel encouraged to keep learning and trying even if a subject does not come easy to them.

After receiving the exams, the teachers are better able to understand where their emphasis should be focused. Everything is done in a positive and encouraging way, and the children know that if they work hard they will succeed. And whatever their results are, the students know that their teachers are there to support them, motivate them to do better and celebrate their victories.
Middle school aged children taking  exams

Student consults teacher with question 

Teacher Hayley giving exams to the preschoolers

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Two Prominent Mumbai Newspapers feature stories about GPM

GPM women getting interviewed by Mid-Day 
 GPM is thrilled to  be featured in two local, Mumbai newspapers.  Mid-day Newspaper and Better India, both well-known newspapers, chose to publish articles about GPM's work in the Kalwa Slums and under served villages. Jacob Sztokman, founder of GPM, regards the articles as an act of true community activism, “When the wider community takes an interest in the community development work that we are doing, I feel as if GPM’s mission of community building is coming to life.
Picture of the Newspaper Article

The articles discuss GPM’s work with underprivileged children, but mainly focuses on its women’s empowerment initiatives. Both writers journeyed to the Delicio kitchen, located in the Kalwa slums, in order to sit down with the GPM women and learn about how they prepare meals for the local school children. Krutika Behrawala, of Mid-Day, wrote,” The women work in rehearsed sync. They've known each other for eight years. Most of them live in one room-kitchen tenements neighboring chawls.” It was very inspiring to have reporters come and interview these women. They mostly come from small villages outside of Mumbai, so to have their stories shared to all of Mumbai and the rest of the world, is a very special experience for them. 

These women's stories are of empowerment and hard work. It is important for their communities to see the benefits of empowered young girls and women. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Job opportunities for GPM young adults

Staff from Meluha Hotel briefing the Life Learners 
In underprivileged areas, it is common for children to leave school, at as early as elementary school age, in order to work to help their families earn money to survive. To combat this issue, GPM provides nutritious daily meals to students so that parents can keep their children in school. The Life learners Program, is a recent initiative that GPM started in June 2017, to help educate young adults who left the education track. Initiated by the JDC-GPM  2017 Summer cohort of volunteers, the program has been very well received, and the young adults are eager to catch up on what they have missed. Several students in the Life Learners Program have been encouraged to go back to school and continue their studies.
Life Learners with GPM Volunteers

Mehula Fern Hotel (a local Mumbai Hotel), recently approached GPM with an idea. The Meluha Hotel is a GPM partner who specifically collaborates with  Naya, a GPM paper recycling social enterprise. The hotel wanted to speak to our young adults in the Life Learners Program to let them know about available job opportunities at the hotel and career tracks in hospitality.

Ms. Pearl Dias, the Director of Training and Development at the Mehula Fern Hotel came with her team to the GPM Joshua Greenberger Learning Center in Kalwa and presented the Life Learners with an outline of what type of education is required to move up in the hotel world, and the best entry level jobs to start their paths. 

We are extremely appreciative and proud that Mehula Fern Hotel took the time to speak to our young adults. This is community development at its finest. GPM strives to ensure that all of its work is done at the local level. Our students are  taught by local teachers and our clinic is run by local doctors and nurses; so it is a dream come true that our young adults are being given opportunities to find career direction at GPM.