Thursday, September 13, 2018

Welcome New Year-long JDC Development Fellow at GPM

Dov Boonin, a recent graduate of Oxford University in London, has joined Gabriel Project
Mumbai (GPM) as the year-long JDC Jewish Service Corps Fellow at GPM. Dov's main focus at GPM is to work on community development initiatives and support international/local volunteer engagement. His position is funded by a generous grant by the UK based Pears Foundation.

The 23-year-old Philosophy Politics and Economics major who also studied for a year in Jerusalem. served was President of Oxford University's Jewish Society, spent a summer running summer camps in local schools in Shanghai, and participated in Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis’ Ben Azzai Programme for social justice with the organization Tzedek, where he visited Accra and Tamale, Ghana.

“I love learning from people from different countries, and supporting communities,” he says. In his spare time, he loves to read, play badminton and squash, play guitar, and bike-ride. “I also love meeting new people, and so am looking forward to becoming a part of your community.”

Monday, September 3, 2018

Stay Tuned...New Dental Clinic at GPM - Opening November 2018

The first ever dental clinic in the Kalwa slums is being built by GPM, slated to open in November, 2018.

The Martha B. Leigh Community Dental Clinic, located in the Bhaskar Nagar neighborhood in Kalwa, will provide essential treatment for oral diseases such as cavities, extractions, and oral disease. The Clinic, which was made possible thanks to the Martha B. Leigh Charitable Fund, will also provide a holistic, community-based oral-health education program in cooperation with Humble Smile Foundation. As part of the education program, the Clinic will also provide advanced procedures at discounted prices. The dental staff will conduct outreach in the community, going to people’s homes to talk about issues such as limiting sugar, brushing teeth, and using toothpaste. In addition, GPM will provide subsidies for children whose families are unable to pay even the discounted costs. Anyone who has a severe dental issue will be referred to experts outside of the slum.

"As part of our approach of working holistically with families and communities, we discovered that there is a real need for a dental clinic in the slums," explains GPM Founding Director, Jacob Sztokman. GPM found that many children have severe dental problems such as rotting teeth, oral deformities, oral hygiene problems, and even losing teeth -- because until now, there was not a single qualified dentist in the entire Kalwa slum of 200,000 people. Residents of the slum need to travel far distances for dental care, if they could afford it. "It seems that dental care has come to be considered a great luxury in the Kalwa slum because of how difficult it is to attain. But this should not be the case. Dentistry, especially for children, is not a luxury but a vital necessity," Mr. Sztokman says.

Dental problems can cause great pain and distress, as well as risks of infections and other diseases. In addition, the failure to attend to children’s dental needs can have consequences for the children later in life. It can affect not only self-confidence and appearance, but also the ability to get a decent job. Consultations with medical and dental organizations have indeed confirmed that a children’s dental clinic is a vital necessity for the community.

The two-room clinic, which is currently undergoing renovations, will be part of the Shravan Medical Center that serves 10,000 clients each year. It will be equipped with a dental chair,  dental apparatus and equipment, autoclave, x-ray machine, dental supplies, electricity back-up generator and a good water supply.

The Dental Clinic, which was designed in consultation with Dr. Darren Weiss and Dr. Aachal Devi of  the Humble Smile Foundation, will be staffed by a local dentist, a dental hygienist, an outreach coordinator (a community educator), and an administrative coordinator. GPM is also inviting dentists from around India and also around the world to volunteer at the clinic providing specialty services.

The "before" photo: Dr Darren Weiss, Dr Aachal Devi and Jacob Sztokman at the site of the  medical center that will house the Martha B Leigh Community Dental Clinic and the Shravan Health Centre
Renovations for the new Dental Clinic taking place end of August 2018

Israeli soldiers "Heroes for Life" volunteer with GPM

For the second year in a row, Heroes For Life (HFL), an group of recently-released IDF soldiers who are dedicated to "giving back" to vulnerable populations around the world, volunteered over the summer with GPM. The Israeli organization capitalizes on the many post-army adults who travel to
India every year and offers them a venue to volunteer and give back to vulnerable populations during their travels.

HFL participants taught in our classes in the slums and also they sent a cohort to the remote tribal village of Ashte where GPM operates a range of development programs. In Ashte, the HFL group taught GPM classes in government schools that are partnering with GPM ras well as in the GPM Love2Learn pre-school. Additionally, HFL took upon itself to renovate the GPM Preschool, paint its interior and exterior, and create educational materials for the students.

HFL participants also taught middle-school students at the GPM Joshua Greenberger Learning Center in the Kalwa slums and were introduced to GPM development initiatives in the slum community.

"The HFL volunteers are extremely passionate, hard working and well trained educationally before arriving in India" said Leron Kehimkar of GPM. "They add so much excitement to the classrooms the children love the innovative and fun way to learn."

"We had a great time volunteering in GPM’s centers," said Dafna Shamgar, HFL Coordinator. "We felt the meaning and importance of our stay every day when we came to classes and experienced how many wonderful things we could do together. We thank GPM for the opportunity and the cooperation that will continue."

Sunday, September 2, 2018

GPM distributes $18,000-worth of free medicines in the Kalwa slum

When Gabriel Project Mumbai opened the Shravan Health Center in August 2015 one of the main goals of the clinic was to provide discounted and free medicines and treatment alongside quality health care. 

Over three years of operation, GPM has distributed $18,000 worth of free and heavily discounted medicines to the residents of the Kalwa slums. These medicines, which include antibiotics, vaccines, antihistamines, pain killers and other essentials, were provided as part of the health care that doctors of the Shravan Health Center give the Kalwa community of 200,000 residents.

"Accessible quality healthcare is a human right," says GPM Founding Director Jacob Sztokman, "and we are so honored to be able to provide this service to the people of Kalwa."
"Manisha" came to GPM's Shravan Health Center for treatment. She suffers from chronic pain all over her body. The doctors prescribed several different medications to help with her manage the pain. Since this woman was unable to pay for them, they were given to her FREE of cost.