Caring for vulnerable children living in the slums and villages of India

Jacob Sztokman: Founding Director
Jacob is a hi-tech executive turned social-entrepreneur. On a visit to Mumbai in 2011, Jacob toured the city’s slums and was deeply moved to work on the issues of poverty and illiteracy among the children of India. Troubled by what he saw and motivated to help make a difference, Jacob consulted with grassroots Indian NGOs and together developed a model for combining long-term and short-term solutions by creating development programs in education, nutrition, hygiene and health care. This  formed the basis of the GPM program, which began operation in June 2012. Jacob was born in Melbourne Australia and immigrated to Israel in 1993.  Jacob’s professional life has been in the world of Sales and Marketing, and has worked for companies including SafeNet, IDT, and DSS. In 1998, after several years volunteering with food distribution to impoverished families in Jerusalem, he helped establish Shachen Tov, a volunteer organization that has since grown to provide food and empowering over 1000 families in over 15 cities around Israel.  Jacob has a Masters degree in Community Development  at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Jacob brings to Gabriel Project Mumbai a unique combination of management experience and deep commitment to social justice. He is driven by the fundamental belief that we must take responsibility to help alleviate human suffering around the world. He and his wife, Elana Maryles Sztokman, live in Modi’in, Israel with their four children. 

Leya Elias: Program Coordinator

Before joining the GPM staff, Leya was actively involved in Jewish youth work in Mumbai for several years. She holds a Bachelor’s deree in English Literature and Communication Studies from St.Teresas College, Ernakulam and a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Relations and Corporate Communication from the Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai . 

 Kenneth Dsouza: Director, India

Kenneth worked as Program Development Officer and Project Director  for REAP, working on Literacy, Women’s Empowerment, Training and Residential Learning, serving over 8000 beneficiaries within the city of Mumbai and the neighboring district of Thane. Kenneth has a background in business and in music, and previously ran his family’s business and worked as a musician, composer and conductor in Mumbai. 

Hayley Dsouza: Volunteer Coordinator and Educational Administrator
A graduate of St. Xaviers College in Mumbai, Hayley has many years of early childhood experience. Her educational knowledge and expertise greatly benefits our volunteers when developing and implementing high quality lessons for the children living in the slums. Hayley is responsible for the day-to-day activities of international and local volunteers as well as acting as an educational mentor when developing volunteer-inspired lessons for the children living in the slums. Her effervescent, dedicated and sociable personality makes the teaching process a joy rather than a chore and in the classroom, she facilitates the volunteers in executing motivational and fun classes. Hayley lives in Thane with her husband and daughter

 Thaiza Dias: Development Coordinator
Thaiza is a Professional in the Social Development sector with two years’ of experience as Project Officer for a London based funding agency that involved monitoring and evaluation of projects in the areas of education, health, women empowerment and infrastructure in India. Thaiza is also worked for the Mumbai based Fair Trade Organization, which works in the area of women’s empowerment through livelihood generation.

David Benjamin Ramrajkar: Volunteer Liaison and Security Officer
David, 32, is a man of many talents. David graduated the Jacob Sassoon High School close to where he lives in Byculla, Mumbai. A former sales executive at RITA manufacturing company, David has chosen to dedicate his time and effort to social justice causes. Not only does David act as Volunteer Liaison and Security Officer at Gabriel Project Mumbai, but he is also a security volunteer for the IJS group (Indian Jewish Security) whose members guard and protect synagogues and Jewish events around Mumbai. At GPM, David accompanies volunteers in the slums and throughout the city, teaches classes and handles all security matters. Not having any teaching experience before starting at GPM, he finds teaching vulnerable children, alongside the volunteers, the most rewarding part of his job. David is a fantastic sports ‘all rounder’ and enjoys, cricket, football, basketball and the Indian board game, ‘Carrom’.


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