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

Community Development

Community Development Projects

After five years of working on the ground in the slums in partnership with other grassroots organizations, the GPM team realized that the majority of people coming to live in the urban slums in India are arriving from rural areas. Indeed, the main slum where GPM works has grown 80% in 4 years, from 120,000 people to the current 200,000 people, with some 95 percent of the new residents arriving from remote villages. The primary reason that people are leaving their villages is because of food shortages, lack of educational opportunities and inaccessible healthcare. People leave their ancestral villages because they feel it is a matter of basic survival. It is that simple.

The GPM team recognized that in order to address the root cause of urban poverty, we had to work with rural communities to create educational, nutritional and health opportunities in underserved rural areas.

As a result, GPM embarked on grassroots development work in remote rural areas. We believe that if we can help residents create better conditions for farming, education and healthcare, we can enable people to live the way they truly want to – that is, in their tribal communities within their ancestral homes and villages, under conditions in which they are economically and socially thriving. 

In working with the communities in both Kalwa and Ashte, GPM has learned that in order to change the future for the children, we need to work with the entire village. Yes, it really does take a village to raise a child. Starting in 2016, GPM embarked on a series of vibrant Community Development projects in both Kalwa and Ashte that aim to advance social change for the entire community. These projects include: 

Women’s empowerment: The Masala Mamas

Naya Paper Recycling Women-run Business
Adit Goschalk, a GPM-JDC-Entwine year-long intern sponsored by the Pears Foundation, UK, spent her year working in the Kalwa slum. An art teacher in a Jewish school in the UK by profession, Adit saw an opportunity to create a women’s empowerment program focused on environment and art. The paper recycling project she initiated employs women who use discarded paper from the slums as well as donated scrap paper from offices and hotels around Mumbai. They recycle the paper and create new products such as: coasters, notebooks, pads, business cards, invitations and more. The project, which launched in September 2016, is a self-sustaining project in the slum that incorporates environmental education as well. Paper recycling bins have been installed in several GPM locations around the slum, and have become an integral part of the GPM development work.    

* 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 (, 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: