Educational Center and Home for Underprivileged Jewish Children in Moscow
Gan Chamah: Planting the Seeds - Making the Future Blossom
The Educational Center and Home for Underprivileged Jewish Children established by Chamah in Moscow, generally known as Gan Chamah, cares for children coming from underprivileged families; single-parent families; broken and dysfunctional homes; and physically challenged children. The children are given an excellent Jewish and general education as well as proper nutrition in a warm and nurturing environment. Milton and Shirley Gralla were instrumental in making this project a reality.
Gan Chamah is a second home to over 150 Jewish children. Special Gan Chamah school buses transport the children from all over Moscow to the school and back home. However, some children take advantage of the school's dormitory facility during the week and only return home for weekends.
For various reasons, their parents or guardians are unable to attend to them during the week. Some of the children are refugees of war and unfortunately, as with thousands of other children, war deprives them of their childhood. People had to flee their hometown with no idea as to where they would go. Many ended up in Moscow, for them - a strange city. Some of our children have parents who were affected by the Chernobyl disaster. At Gan Chamah they are all received as family.
Gan Chamah is comprised of three two-story buildings. The campus consists of classrooms, a dormitory, and educational and recreational facilities. It is situated in a natural country setting in a "green zone" of Moscow, rich in lush foliage and healthy clean air. Gan Chamah includes a kindergarten, elementary school, and a special program for disabled children. It has become a shining example of an institution providing an excellent 21st century education combined with Jewish traditional values.
In addition to the general curriculum, as set by the Ministry of Education, the children are taught Jewish subjects including the Hebrew language, Jewish holidays, history and tradition.
They are offered many extra-curricular activities on the premises, such as swimming, gymnastics, rhythmic dance, choir, and arts and crafts, and are encouraged to use the state-of-the-art library and computer room with multimedia facilities. Various contests and group excursions to museums are organized for the children.
Skilled and loving teachers, caring counselors and a healthy and happy environment instill a sense of Jewish pride in the hearts of the young children and help them feel the warmth and security of a traditional Jewish family.
The kitchen facilities, which are on the premises, are high in standard and comparable to those in more modern Western societies. The hot, nutritious meals served to our children are an integral part of the program. The menu, which includes vitamin-rich fresh vegetables, fruits and juices, is carefully chosen to meet the children's nutritional needs. The food is of the highest quality and is freshly prepared.
Besides the 5-day school week, Gan Chamah organizes a special "Jewish Weekend" family club that extends the educational experience to the children's parents or guardians. In addition, Gan Chamah operates a day camp on its premises during the summer and winter vacations.