Friday, August 3, 2018

GPM engages new educational partnership with Indian government

In a new strategic partnership, GPM has been invited by the Indian Government to bring the signature GPM Eat2Learn education, nutrition and children’s healthcare programs to government schools in the Palghar region in Maharashtra.

The local government authority has invited GPM to teach in four governmental schools conducting seven classes for around 300 students in villages in the Palghar District in Maharashtra.

This partnership raises the capacity of GPM to have an impactful reach on the children in the remote tribal rural communities of Maharashtra.
“Partnering with the Indian Government is a significant milestone for us,” said GPM India Director Kenneth DSouza. “This will enable us to reach more children and begin working towards even more scale.”

GPM has hired a cohort of professional, qualified teachers from the area who have received additional training. The teachers will be teaching grades 1-8 and will facilitate additional GPM educational activities. This is all in addition to the continuation of Love2Learn educational programs in the region.

GPM's Eat2Learn program –  which provides hot, nutritious meals to hundreds of children in school
in the Kalwa and Palgar branches of the Love2Learn schools –  will be providing the schoolchildren with two nutritious meals a day in government schools.  The midday meal is a fresh, hot curry that supplements some of the basic foods that children receive from the government. These will vary between egg curries, mixed lentils, and soya bean in order to ensure that children receive protein-rich foods to enhance their physical and mental development. The afternoon meal is a dry snack such as poha, eggs, and other protein-rich food.

GPM will also be providing a series of health and hygiene initiatives in the government schools. One initiative, as part of the GPM-Sundara program, teaches children hand-washing with soap. Sundara provides recycled soap which is used by children in the class. They wash every day before each meal.

In another initiative, after each meal, the children learn to brush their teeth using skills and tooth-brushes provided in partnership with Humble Smile Foundation. The children also receive training in the importance of oral hygiene and hand-washing.

The teachers also received training in how to maintain these healthy habits in the classroom among the students. Every Saturday, includes in a session devoted to hygiene education.
GPM is happy to have it’s teachers in theses government schools. “We are privileged to be able to provide an extra support for government teachers educating tribal children in remote rural locations by placing one of our Love2Learn teachers as full time teachers in these schools,” explains Thaiza Dias, Programs coordinator at GPM. “We are overwhelmed with the knowledge that our education efforts over the last few years have shown success and have been recognized by the government educational authorities.”

GPM also provides healthcare for the children in school. Once a month a doctor visits all the students to do a preventive and curative healthcare checkup. He checks skin, chest, weight, teeth, and overall wellbeing. Children who are sick receive prescription medicines where necessary.   In previous years, doctors would only treat Love2Learn students, but now the doctor is treating all the children in all the government schools associated with GPM.

Teachers will also check fingernails and toenails and once a month, GPM will be sending a barber to each class to trim the children’s hair. This initiative came from the doctor’s check-up, in which observed that many children didn’t cut their nails or hair. Long nails can be dangerous and unhygienic.

“In the Dahanu taluka (municipal district) schools will be given Gabriel Project Love2Learn classes
and support…and this permission has been given,” wrote Mr Rajesh Kankal, District Education Officer in Palghar Maharashtra.

“It is exciting to be able to work in partnership with the government to simultaneously provide services that attend to all three crucial aspects of children’s wellbeing: education, nutrition and health,” says GPM Founding Director Jacob Sztokman. “This is key to the GPM philosophy. We need to take care of all these of these areas of children’s lives in order to provide the best setting for them to thrive.”

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