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RMF and Friends Paint Rural MP

November 11, 2009 - India

by Caitlin McQuilling

This past weekend 12 artists volunteered to travel overnight via train from Mumbai, Delhi, and Bhopal to spend the weekend in Jhabua helping RMF transform our new Nutrition Rehabilitation Center at Jeevan Jyoti Hospital from a dull hospital ward to a work of art.

This weekend, deemed the Wall Project MP, was the first collaboration between the Wall Project and RMF and was an astounding success! The Wall Project is a group, founded in Mumbai, of artists (amateur and professional) who get together and create murals and public art displays across the cities. They volunteered to help us transform the drab hospital walls of our NRC to a bright, cheerful place for children.

Having colorful walls isn’t just about the aesthetics of our NRC: Color and shape are also important for the children’s mental recovery as well. A child who has a bright, interesting, and stimulating environment will have better neurological recovery and development than children in dull settings.

The walls and the volunteers who painted them far exceeded our expectations! Over two full days of painting, our volunteers brought life, love, and color into our NRC. One children’s ward was turned into a sky themed room, with billowing clouds, kites, and rainbows; another was turned into a circus with cartoon animals roaming the walls. The exam room was transformed into a celestial adventure and the entranceway, a beautiful field of flowers. The training and play rooms were filled with snakes and ladders, Hindi alphabet fish, and a woman being uplifted by breastfeeding her child. The creativity, light, and laughter of our new NRC reflect the generous personalities of our Wall Project volunteers and new lifelong RMF friends.

The volunteers’ enthusiasm also sparked interest and involvement from the community surrounding the hospital and RMF staff. Ajana, RMF’s nutrition training coordinator, employed her mendi skills for creating vines and flowers creeping up columns. Caitlin and Fabian tried to color in the lines. The German volunteers employed their math skills for snakes and ladders and Jimmy created a village scene on the walls. Nyamat documented the whole weekend and will showcase the work later this week on CNN. Local school kids helped in filling in designs and created amazing murals of their own.

Thank you to everyone who came out! We hope to repeat this again and again, helping other health centers and schools in our region transform into places where children can play and mothers can learn new infant and young child feeding best practices in colorful, inviting environments.

For more information on the Wall Project, please check out their website, and join the Facebook groups, the Wall Project, and our new spin off, the Wall Project MP. Photo credits: Neetha Thomas and Utsav Kedia

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