Women's Empowerment in the Kalwa Slum
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.
GPM projects facilite women's empowerment by supporting women's micro-financing empowerment groups, and helping to boost the local economy while enabling women to provide for their families.
The empowerment of women in the slums is an important part of GPM's community development programming. GPM gives the women of the slums the tools and technical support that
encourages the women to seek their own economic empowerment; which in turn helps the community and the families struggling to survive in the
harsh realities of the slums of Mumbai.This central kitchen serves as a base for the production and delivery of hundreds of daily meals to children in schools, encourage attendance in classes run by the dedicated teachers, and bring some economic security to dozens of Kalwa families.
The initiative for the kitchen came from the women, who were seeking a more efficient and cost effective way to supply meals for the schoolchildren. Now the women can purchase ingredients, like rice, spices, vegetables, oil, flour etc at lower bulk prices, cook more efficiently and cheaply. In addition, the efficient storage of bulk items means lower overhead and the cheaper prices for bulk items means extra funds for more vegetables, legumes and proteins in the meals for the children which improves their overall health.
This new innovation has allowed the women living in the slums to be even more empowered and self-sufficient. The central kitchen is used not only to provide children with nutrition but also to accept lunch orders from individuals, offices and institutions in and outside the slums. This means that the central kitchen serves as an additional conduit to for the economic betterment of the women and the slum community.
The central kitchen is also the place where GPM international and local volunteers work side-by-side with the members of local women's groups preparing the children's daily meals.
The GPM campaign to help equip the kitchen with essential appliances particularly with necessary safety equipment was met with a lot of support from the Jewish community. The Good People Fund who eagerly financed the refrigerator (that keeps vegetables fresh) the exhaust fans (that expels the oppressive heat), the 4 burner stoves (with safety features that prevent accidental burns), large storage containers (for legumes, grains and oil), pots, cooking utensils, shelving units and a water filter (that ensures the quality of the food).
Many local suppliers also contributed to this endeavor. Store owners, electricians, gas installers and others provided the equipment at large discounts, at cost and even for free.
The success of the women will send a ripple effect of empowerment and economic betterment for them, their families and especially the children attending class in the slums.
Would you like to be part of this great initiative? You can make a difference to women’s economic empowerment and children’s nutrition by supporting GPM's Nutrition Program in the slums.
Kenneth Dsouza of GPM, at the behest of the women, came up with the catchy name of the newly formed kitchen – “The Delicio Food Company” and their first large outside order was prepared and catered for REAP’s dedicated teachers on India’s annual Teachers Day, September 5, 2013.