Plan a Site Visit
GPM welcomes visitors, tourists and volunteers from all around the world to observe or participate in the vital work in the slums of Mumbai.
If you are interested in seeing GPM's work first hand and gaining a better understanding of the challenges faced by the children living in the slums, then join us for a site visit. We ask for visitors to be sensitive to the complexities of where we work, we want to show you our work and the ways in which we are improving lives in the slums however we do not take visitors on a "safari" of poor areas. This is not a poverty tour. If you want to learn about poverty, community development, and hear first-hand from beneficiaries how these projects have changed their lives.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis visited GPM in 2016 along with his wife, Valerie Mirvis, and their children. They journeyed to Kalwa, where they were greeted by a class of young pupils who first recited the Indian National Pledge, before they were themselves led in a rendition of ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ by their guests of honour. They also visited the Shravan Medical Centre, the only such institution serving 200,000 people in the slums, where he affixed a mezuzah to the entrance.
Reflecting on the hardships borne by the people of Kalwa, the Chief Rabbi noted their “desperate poverty, hunger and deprivation,” but was buoyed by evidence that “Jewish communities around the world are…doing a great deal of work in this area…I was pleased to see first-hand how support from the UK Jewish community is being used to help those in great need.” He added: “As Jews, we have a responsibility to ensure that, where possible, our charity extends beyond our own community to people who we may never meet but who are so deserving of our help. I call upon all Jews to recognise that responsibility and will be using my experiences here to raise awareness about what more can be done in this sphere.”
Gladys and Greg Teitel of Stamford, Connecticut, brought not one but two of their daughters to GPM to celebrate their bat mitzvahs. Sophie Teitel visited the slums with GPM in 2014 and decided to celebrate her bat mitzvah by teaching a lesson to the children on family and culture. The children responded with tremendous interest and enthusiasm, and connected very strongly to her. They also explored their maternal family roots in the Bene Israel Indian Jewish community.
Sophie's sister, Naama, came in 2016, when she taught classes and prepared classroom educational materials for the kids in GPM's Love2Learn classes. She also raised over $2600 for the GPM vaccination program in the Shravan Health Center. Before leaving for Mumbai, Naama taught her class in the Bi-Cultural Day School (BCDS) in Stamford, CT how to dance the “Macarena”, and she videotaped the group doing the dance. One of the fun activities she did in Kalwa was to teach the kids how to dance the Macarena as well. The video of the two classes – one in Stamford and one in Kalwa – doing the Macarena can be seen on Youtube here. Naama's class at BCDS also created posters about life in Stamford with all their names on them. When Naama came to Kalwa, the children presented her with posters that they prepared about life in Kalwa with their names on it. The children traded posters as part of a young cultural exchange, and spent time learning about one another. The posters now hang in classes in Stamford and in Kalwa.
“I think that it is very important for children to receive vaccinations because it prevents diseases or even death from occurring,” she wrote on her fundraising page. Her mother, Gladys, wrote about the trip: “It was a life changing experience on so many levels.”
Greg called the experience "simply incredible. Words cannot describe how I feel right now. Our visit to the slums has changed my perspective on life forever."
Matan traveled to Mumbai from his hometown of Chicago with his grandfather, Dr. Robert Minkus. Together they visited the Love2Learn school in Kalwa, where Matan gave the students a language and history lesson. Then they traveled to the village of Ashte where they learned Warli Art, saw the AshteGreen12 development, and enjoyed tribal art. Matan collected his bar mitzvah money and donated it to purchasing learning kits for all the students in the school.
Bar Mitzvah Boy Yoni Levy
Yoni Levy of Raanana, Israel, came to Mumbai in March 2018 along with his father, Ben. Yoni, a student at the Amit school in Raanana, had a truly impactful visit.
He donated a Safe Drinking Water delivery vehicle. The newly inaugurated GPM Safe Drinking Water project in Kalwa that provides filtered and recycled water bottles to households in Kalwa needed a vehicle to deliver the water bottles. Yoni and his family decided to donate a vehicle for this purpose, which can hold 20 massive water bottles to deliver to families that are unable to retrieve the bottles themselves. This is a vital aspect of this program which will have a direct impact on people’s health and well-being in Kalwa. People in the slum need safe drinking water to ensure that they are not exposed to diseases and bacteria in the water. This vehicle makes the program widely accessible in the slum.
He also donated a 600-book library. Yoni and his family inaugurated a brand new library in the Joshua Jacob Greenberger Learning Center. The library now has 600 books, which will serve the children in the center as well as the children of Love2Learn.
Mr. Matan Zamir, Deputy Head of the Consulate General of Israel in Mumbai, joined GPM, where he prepared chapattis with the women, heard a few words of Hebrew, and taught the children art appreciation. Read more about Mr. Zamir's visit on the GPM blog.
A group of yogi-travelers visited the GPM projects in Kalwa, donated their yoga mats to the children, and left with profound insights that you can read here.
Dr Amit A. Saraf MD, F.C.P.S. (Internal Medicine) came to GPM as part of ‘Career Week’ for the children in the Kalwa slum. Invited by GPM volunteer Debby Dell’ariccia, Dr. Saraf walked with the volunteers through the slums of Kalwa and to the classes run by REAP.