GPM Humanitarian Initiatives
Mumbai is home to over seven million children under the age of 14 who are growing up in abject poverty. The World Health Organization estimates that about 49 per cent of the world's underweight children and 34 per cent of the world's malnourished children live in India. Education is the key to reducing these figures. However, in Mumbai, because food is scarce and the primary focus is on day-to-day survival, there is tremendous pressure on children – even as young as four years old – to work. Slum children work as rag pickers, sewage cleaners and other unhealthy and dangerous jobs, earning a few cents a month in order to stave off their families’ hunger. Education and literacy are put off as parents struggle to balance the immediate needs for family survival of the family over the need of a child to grow, develop, and study in order to build a different life.
GPM operates a series of humanitarian interventions in the Mumbai slums aimed at combating poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, and child labor.
GPM operates the following projects aimed at redressing poverty, illiteracy and child labor (click on each to learn more):
* 'Eat2Learn' nutrition program. GPM provides hot, nutritious meals to children attending school. The children, studying in our classes now have tremendous incentives to go to school. Not only do they receive the education that they need to end the cycle of poverty, but they also receive warm, wholesome meals that keep their minds and bodies healthy and strong. The GPM solution of providing meals for children in school addresses both short-term and long-term needs of the children. The immediate need of hunger relief is achieved, malnutrition is abated, and a sound education is established to help promote a better life for children of the slums.
* Women's empowerment. The GPM model of food-delivery and nutrition is intertwined with a powerful model of women's empowerment. GPM and REAP facilitated the establishment of a central kitchen in the Kalwa slums for the Delicio Food Company, an all-women's food-service company that supports 160 working women in the slums. The kitchen, which was built with micro-credit funding and a grant from the Good People Fund, not only provides the schoolchildren with daily nutritious meals but also empowers dozens of Kalwa women’s empowerment groups in the slums by helping them strengthen and expand their economic well-being.
* HEAL hygiene initiative. Education and access to hygienic materials are vital to children's
health in the slums. More specifically, educating the vulnerable
children as to
healthy/hygienic habits and access to hygienic materials like tooth
brushes, tooth paste and soap create a culture of personal hygiene and
healthy living. GPM
volunteers create a project to bring soap, toothbrushes, basic hygiene
and good habits to the children in the slums along with ongoing support
with education and access to hygienic materials.
* Literacy enrichment. GPM volunteers bring an
enriching literacy component to the children’s learning experience. GPM
volunteers prepare and deliver fun and informal educational lessons in
English, geography, science, math and history. Volunteers support the
local teachers and collaborate with them in order to ensure that GPM
programs are organically integrated into the classroom experience.
Volunteers help stimulate and motivate the children’s learning, assist
with their social adaptation, and give a lot of love and encouragement
that boosts their self-esteem and helps them envision a brighter future.
* Math-training initiative. GPM and REAP created a ground-breaking initiative via The Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org), an innovative e-learning organization sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Google Company, that provides accessible math modules on the internet in order to enable an child anywhere to obtain a free world-class education. Khan is an incredibly effective method of teaching mathematics and select modules have been successfully implemented in REAP’s teacher-training centers to teachers of vulnerable children in Mumbai.
* Educational scholarships. GPM believes that all children deserve an education, no matter what their family circumstances. A good education is a proven solution for the children to leave the slums, explore their dreams and create a brighter future. The REAP-GPM Educational Scholarship Initiative, conceptually inspired by former GPM volunteers, provides a comprehensive long-term 14-year educational commitment to children in the slums and rural villages in and around Mumbai
To contribute to "Eat to Learn" nutrition program, click here: