Gabriel Project Mumbai (GPM) is a local Indian NGO caring for thousands of vulnerable children, in the slums and poor rural villages, through education, hygiene, nutrition and medical programs. GPM works in collaboration with local grass-roots organizations, women’s empowerment groups, the business community and the Indian Jewish community.
The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) partners with the GPM locally to connect the Indian Jewish community to the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam and empower them to take responsibility for the world around them. Additionally, JDC Entwine partners with GPM each year to send young Jews from around the world to volunteer in the slums, helping GPM to run its education initiative in the slums. Learn more about Gabriel Project Mumbai
Holding the second largest population in the world, India has a staggering 1.2 billion people. Mumbai alone is home to 22 million people and over 70% live in slums. People living in the slums have limited access to electricity, clean water, food, and educational opportunities. Gabriel Project Mumbai primarily works in the Kawla Slum just outside of Mumbai which comprises 200,000 people.
The Jewish population in India is about 4,350 with 85% of the Jews living in Mumbai and the surrounding areas. This small yet vibrant Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world, tracing their roots as far back as 2,000 years. Because of India’s huge population and significant poverty, the country’s limited government-run social services are massively overloaded. The Jewish or Bene Israel community lack the welfare infrastructure to meet all of the needs of poor, elderly, and vulnerable Jews among them. JDC, operational in India for over four decades, partners with various local organizations to provide welfare services for the neediest Jews in the community and helps to develop vibrant Jewish life in Mumbai through programs at the local Jewish Community Center.
Week 1: Orientation
Week 1-8: Daily Volunteer work in slums, with excursions, site visits and classes
Fellows create innovative education programs and volunteer daily in the slums to facilitate lessons and interact with the children. Both formally and informally, Fellows teach a range of subjects such as English, math, hygiene, art and more! Overall, Entwine Fellows help instill an important love to learn for the local Indian children. This is apparent as our Fellows often walk into the GPM classroom the students exclaim with a smile “Hello Teachers!”
Fellows also get a chance to learn about GPM’s other initiatives such as visiting the newly-opened medical clinic and visiting the women’s empowerment kitchen where free meals are made daily for the students.
Fellows are simultaneously immersed in Mumbai’s vibrant Jewish community, working alongside Indian Jewish peers at the JCC and other local Jewish institutions.
On a typical weekday, Fellows take the train just outside of Mumbai to the Kawla Slums where GPM operates its programs. After teaching a few classes and learning about GPM’s grassroots work, Fellows return back to Mumbai to have a group activity which could be a site visit to a local JDC program, local community leader or Hindi language class.
• Background or interest in working on educational programs with children
• Flexibility and comfort working in the setting of India's slums
• Ability to adapt, comfortable in new cultural contexts
• Passion for volunteerism and instilling the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam
Participation Fee: $1,000
• Group activities and excursions
• Airport pick up/drop off in overseas location
• Transportation to/from service work site
• Some meals
• Comprehensive health and emergency evacuation insurance
• On-the-ground staff support
This does not include:
• Int'l airfare
• Most meals
• Visa (required for US passport holders; JDC will provide visa application instructions and support)
• Leisure activities
• Personal expenses
Visas All participants are required to secure an Employment Visa in order to enter India and stay for the full duration of the program. JDC will provide support throughout the process as well as all supporting documents needed to apply for the visa. Please note that the actual granting of the visa is at the discretion of the Embassy of India and is not guaranteed. The full cost of the Employment Visa, including shipping and service fees, is $165 USD.
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"India was fantastic! It really was a life changing experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone I speak to! The kids were so cute as well, I wanted to pack them in my bag and take them home! My co-volunteers were great as well, really friendly and everyone helped each other out whether it was with the teaching or with other challenges we were facing."
"My experience volunteering in India with the JDC and Gabriel Project Mumbai was hands-down the most transformative cultural experience of my life. My everyday interactions with the exuberant children in the Kalwa slums was enriching, and the warmness with which I was received by the Jewish community in Mumbai was heart-warming and indicative of the kindness of Indian society in general. I could not have imagined a better way to spend my summer. I am planning to return to Mumbai to resume my volunteering in Kalwa as soon as I am able."
"This experience has given me a lot of insight into how most of the world lives and how the western society lives."