Our newest project, the Doon EIC, is housed in the government run Doon Hospital.
Government Hospitals are famous for being dreary and grey: long dark corridors with stone floors, walls covered in posters with huge amounts of text so small that nothing can be read.
The only pops of color here are the fleeting ones provided by peoples' clothes - don't miss the father-daughter pair going up the stairs. You cannot stop Indians when it comes to color!
And you cannot stop the Latika Roy Foundation, either. All our centres are noted for their bright, cheerful environments - kind of a "medium is the message" thing. We love what we do and we have fun while doing it. Making our centres kid-friendly and colorful just goes without saying.
So as beautiful as our new center is, state of the art and all, there was still something missing. Those walls were so blank and clean. Enter Shalini, our resident artist.
Over the course of two mornings (under a grueling sun!), she filled them like canvases, just waiting for children to come and color them in.
And here come the children!
So many, in fact, that we had to ration them - a different group each day for four days in a row, each with strict instructions to do only so much so as to leave something for the others.
They were obedient; they put their heads down and set to work:
We learned from each other about technique:
(Notice how Nirmala rests her hand on the wall for support - I didn't see it until I looked at the photos the evening of the first day. Look how steady her painting is:)
It was easy to forget where we were at times. The Doon Hospital! A government hospital in India, where drear and grim is the order of the day. But the sparkle of the primary colors and the endless good cheer of the team was infectious. Over and over, people passing by on their way to the surgical ward or the OPD stopped to watch - one of us would invariably engage them in conversation, explain what we were doing in the EIC, and urge them to tell their friends the good news. "If you know a child with a disability, this is the place . . ."
Then we would offer them a brush, and ask them to paint with us . . .
The passers-by were so serious and intent . . . so thrilled to be included!
There is something so moving about these Foundation gatherings - when everyone (drivers, therapists, teachers, doctors, helpers, accountants, administrators) takes a day from their busy lives to make something beautiful for the children we love and serve.
And because we are all also good friends, the devotion to the children is just one part of what keeps us inspired and working for a better world. There is also the sheer joy of being together,
the fun of teasing each other as we work
and finally, the grace and the incredible good fortune of having jobs that we love and a sense of purpose in this world: