Gabriel Project Mumbai is partnering with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to send Jewish young adults, ages 18-30, on a comprehensive multi-week volunteer and learning program in Mumbai, India, through the JDC Entwine Global Seminar program. During the program, participants provide experiential informal classes for children living in the slums and villages, while becoming enriched by Jewish ethics in social justice, International Development and Indian culture and society. The program, which provides a kosher open and supportive Jewish environment for volunteers, revolves around teaching in the slums, whilst filling the volunteers’ days with learning, cultural engagement, and touring Mumbai and its environs.
The volunteer work week comprises of Mon-Fri volunteering in the slums from 8 am till 3 pm. Classes for the volunteers take place during orientation and throughout their stay. Saturdays are usually free and most Sundays have programming elements to them, including participation in local Synagogue activities, touring Mumbai, volunteering alongside local Indian Jewish young adults, a stay in a remote rural village and connecting with the Indian Jewish Community.
Day to Day Service
Gabriel Project Mumbai volunteers spend days teaching informal experiential education classes in the slums. Volunteers create their lessons with the help of GPM staff while consulting a set curriculum using their educational experiences and overall creativity in planning their lessons. In addition, since the slums are technologically deficient, volunteers have easy ways to boost the children's learning with simple interaction around technology and computers. Volunteers interact and play with the children and help with the teaching of English, Science and Math. The volunteers help stimulate and motivate the children’s learning while providing quality informal education.
The rest of the volunteers' time on the program is spent in classes, study and touring. There is free time to explore Mumbai, the second largest city in the world. Participants receive courses and workshops on social justice from a global and Jewish perspective, responsible volunteering, international development and global poverty as well as basic Hindi/Marathi and Indian Jewish history. We will visit important landmarks, learn about Indian culture and meet with JDC professionals to gain a firsthand understanding of the accomplishments as well as the challenges facing the Indian Jewish community.
During their stay, the volunteers:
travel to the villages on Konkan Coast to explore and learn about the fascinating history of the Bene Israel Jews who arrived in India over 2000 years ago
tour South Mumbai's Jewish and general points of interest
visit 'Bayiti', a Jewish old age home run by the JDC
stay in a remote rural village and give classes to children attending GPM run classes in local schools
GPM will assist in volunteers' plans to visit other parts of India like Kochin, Goa, Delhi etc. (Travel outside of Mumbai has additional costs.)
The Volunteer Residences
Mumbai. The volunteer's stay at a guest house in Sth Mumbai. The residence near the Mumbai Chabad is in a great location with eateries, shopping and entertainment . The JCC is a taxi ride away as are modern malls, markets and tourist sites. The rooms have TV wifi and A/C. Banks, supermarkets, restaurants and hospitals nearby.
Villages. The rustic GPM house in the villages, four hours drive from Mumbai, is in the Palghar-Dahanu district of Maharashtra. The house has no A/C, or TV and intermittent wifi. There is a lovely kosher kitchen, beautiful views and wonderful people to meet. Living in the laid-back village is a great relief from the bustling city of Mumbai.
Important dates 2019-2020
Winter Session '19 December 19-29 (Closed Session)
Winter '19 February 2020
Spring '20 March 9-20
Summer '20 July 6-20
Summer '20 August 9-16
This program is open to young Jewish adults from around the world, ages 18-30. Criteria include:
Commitment to social justice
Flexibility and openness to others
Ability to handle working in adverse conditions
Command of English
Important to note: The living quarters are kosher and co-ed (separate gender-rooms). They are also a smoke-free, drug-free and alcohol-free zones.
Course of Study
Spoken Hindi/Maharathi. This course enables the program participants to communicate with the children in the slums using common words and phrases in local dialects; it really enhances the interaction with the children!
Social Justice in Jewish Tradition. GPM has introduced an exciting new learning component to the volunteer program in collaboration with the internationally renowned Jewish social justice organization TAKUM. GPM volunteers are studying a wide range of Jewish texts that cover issues of social justice and global responsibility from a Jewish perspective
International Development. Participants learn and discuss issues of food-insecurity, healthcare, gender and development, responsible volunteering, international development and global poverty.
Jewish History of India. This fascinating course given by a local scholar is complete with tales of second temple Jewish captives shipwrecked on the coast of India to a series of Spanish and Iraqi merchants who made India their home; a 2000 year odyssey in a land that has made its Jewish citizens very welcome.
Indian Culture. India has both an ancient and captivating culture. This course provides a general overview of Indian culture, sociology, values, religious beliefs and history from both a national and regional perspective. Occasionally participants will go on field trips to important cultural sites and experiences.
Seminars, Educational Workshops, and Field Trips
To fully understand and experience the culture and Jewish history of India, we will be participating in a series of seminars, workshops and field trips.
We visit the Konkan Coast the historical center of Bene Israel Jewish community and Mumbai synagogues. We also visit the JCC, and Mumbai Chabad as well as taking a fun Mumbai bike tour. There are free-times to explore fascinating city of Mumbai. In the villages we experience rural life, a forest trek, playing cricket and learning tribal drawing and art.
There also may be visits and meals with members of the local Jewish community, workshops and short seminars in Indian culture and social justice issues. We will participate in festivals and Shabbat with the local Jewish community and have free time to experience the fun side of Mumbai. These seminars, workshops and outings are an integral part of the program experience.
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