Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pioneering malnutrition intervention through women's empowerment program

Twenty women of the Kalwa slum began special training this week in learning to prepare the National Institute of Nutrition-recommended “Hyderabad Mix”, a special combination of food and nutrients that is used to treat severe and acute malnutrition in babies.  The Hyderabad Mix is a powerful, locally-made, protein/vitamin-based food specifically designed to treat malnourished children.

This program is a targeted intervention by Doctors for You working the GPM Shravan Medical Center, who have encountered over 300 cases of moderate, severe and acute malnutrition in children under the age of five. The doctors have recommended the Hyderabad Mix, which is also recommended by the National Institute of Nutrition, as the most efficient and effective way to alleviate malnutrition in children at these crucial ages.  Clinical research has shown that a three-month, doctor-supervised treatment with the Hyderabad Mix alleviates the symptoms of acute malnutrition and helps send children under the age of 5 on their way to a healthy, thriving life.

"As the initial few years are very critical for overall development of a child. In the present scenario, we are excited about the impact GPM will have for malnourished children”, says Dr. Naresh Gill, Assistant Director of Programming at Doctors for You.
Getting familiar with the ingredients of the Hyderabad Mix

The women, who have been involved in food preparation for GPM children for the past four years, are part of a women’s economic empowerment group in the Kalwa slums.  Until now, the women have been responsible for preparing daily, hot nutritious meals for 500 children learning in classes in the Kalwa slum. With this new initiative, the women will be adding the Hyderabad Mix to their daily outputs.

The Hyderabad Mix uses powerful ingredients such as 'Sattu, a mixture of Bengal gram, ground nuts jiggery and skimmed milk fortified by Vitamin A.

“You can imagine how malnutrition affects infants.Without basic proteins, vegetables, vitamins and minerals, these beautiful children are at risk of stunted physical and emotional development, chronic disease, weakened immune systems from iron deficiencies, irreversible brain lesions and thyroid problems from iodine deficiencies, blindness from Vitamin A deficiencies, and even death.” explained GPM Founding Director Jacob Sztokman. " The beauty of this program is that it is a community based, women's empowerment program that literally 'feeds' into a targeted community nutrition program!
The women being trained by Ms Shobha from Doctors For You

The intervention, which costs $65 per child per year and has been sponsored by The Good People Fund, The Estelle Friedman Gervis Family Foundation and by many donations of people who care about this project. This emergency program is replicable in other slum areas rife with malnutrition among children.  The program will initially start with 80 children and gradually build up to 300 by the end of the year.

To support this ongoing program, go to

GPM wins prestigious award in Child Welfare and Women Empowerment in India

Gabriel Project Mumbai won a prestigious Award of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Journal's Social Welfare and Growth (SWAG) under the category of Women Empowerment and Child Welfare. The award acknowledges the vital impact of the Love2Learn program for education among the remote rural poor in the Palghar village region outside of Mumbai.

“We acknowledge the efforts provided for a better understanding of the on-ground problems and pro-actively encourage your work towards attaining effective results,” Anuradha Devnani of the CSR Journal said in congratulating the GPM team.

Over 500 people attended the event including corporate leaders,  well known philanthropists, members of the Bollywood industry and former ministers of the Indian government.

Love2Learn is a new educational program opened in 2015 in the Western Maharashta state of India that serves 600 students ages 5-10 in 24 villages. This program, which was created by GPM educational staff in collaboration with government educational institutions and staff, uses a holistic approach to development, innovative pedagogies, and a fun, student-centered atmosphere of foundational learning. The Love2Learn program is the first integrated and comprehensive development project in the region, based on the GPM strategy of the “Triad of Children’s Development” – that is, children need a simultaneous combination of education, health and nutrition support in order to end the cycle of poverty.

Love2Learn provides schooling, with an emphasis on language literacy, math and performing arts, as well as technologically-based interactive English teaching through e-learning. The program also offers the GPM signature “Eat to learn” program, in which every student receives a fresh, hot meal when she or he attends school, a strategic approach to children’s poverty has been endorsed by former US President Bill Clinton, because it ensures that children will have the nutritional boosts that they need in order to learn and develop. Love2Learn also provides a Mobile Health Unit with medical personnel that visit the villages every day. They provide check-ups, vaccinations, preventive care, hygiene education supported by Sundara and Humble Smile Foundation, and follow-up care.

“By attending to all three aspects of the child’s needs simultaneously, Love2Learn fights poverty and child labor while caring for the literacy, health and nutrition needs of the children – the vital components that the children need to thrive,” said GPM Program Director Kenneth Desouza.

“We have worked very hard and in collaboration with leading educational experts in order to ensure that the children receive a high-quality education in an atmosphere that fully respects them and their social and cultural surroundings,” added Love2Learn Director Thaiza Dias.

“We are very grateful to the CSR Journal for giving us this award,” said GPM Founding Director Jacob Sztokman who received the award from Former DGP, Karnataka, Dr. Jija Hari Singh “It is a strong confirmation that we are on the right path in helping end the cycle of poverty among India’s remote rural poor children. This is a very important milestone for all of us.”