Dhule village gets toilets, courtesy young artists

Husein Motiwala standing on back drop of his paintings.

Husein Motiwala standing on back drop of his paintings.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to concerned citizens to adopt a village, five little creative minds of St Mary’s School, Mazgaon, have embarked upon a ‘colourful’ and innovative project to adopt a village and construct toilets and basic sanitation infrastructure for women in a remote village of Dhule district in North Maharashtra.

Five high school students have been rigorously painting sketches from the last six months without a break. Their plan is to make as many paintings as possible, exhibit and sell them to raise money for the construction of toilets so that women don’t need to go out in the open.

This idea is the brainchild of art teacher S Ravindranath of St Mary’s School and fostered by the Principal, co-teachers and parents.

Talking to FPJ, Ravindranath said, “When I had gone to Dhule district for some social work related projects, local ladies requested us to build decent toilets for them  with permanent water facility which would require a few lakh rupees.”

He added, “When I came to Mumbai, I told high school students about the social problems in rural areas. But they could not understand it as most of them have never been to a rural area for more than a day.”

For months he started thinking on how to raise capital for construction of toilets. Then an idea came to exhibit and sell paintings of his students to raise money. He spotted five potential star painters among the students.

Kunal Joshi is one of the five students. His parents who work in judicial field recently shifted from Nagpur to Mumbai. His teachers complained that he was shy and does not speak in the class and just remains calm and expressionless. His parents also admitted the fact, may be because of uprooted childhood – switching from one city to another.

Ravindranath realized his problem with expression and channelised his expression through paintings. Till last weekend he had done 21 paintings out of which nine are already sold out.

Kunal who studies in 7th standard said, “Most of my paintings are of Ganesha or Buddha. Both sketches are easy to draw. In Ganesha, you just make odd strokes, the sketch looks very attractive as Ganesh had no standard anatomy.”

Zeenat, mother of Husein Motiwala said, “He (Husein) made 21 paintings and eager to exhibit them. He did it whole-heartedly and selflessly. We like the idea of construction of toilets in rural areas.”

Kunal Joshi busy in painting.

Kunal Joshi busy in painting.

All five students – Kunal, Maahir Haranawala, Aman Hirani, Rohit Kamath and Husein have sacrificed their holidays and put in for paintings. Their paintings are ready for exhibition which is scheduled to open at Cymoroza Art Gallery, 72, Bhulabhai Desai Road, near Breach Candy hospital from August 25 to August 29.

Principal Fr Francis Swami said, “We have taken this initiative to adopt a village by providing them basic infrastructure like sanitation and overhead water tanks and borewells. It is a very ambitious and big project but our little extraordinary minds are capable of achieving it.”

Exhibition and sale of painting is scheduled to open at Cymoroza Art Gallery, 72 Bhulabhai Desai road, near Breach Candy hospital from August 25 to August 29.

(Published in the Free Press Journal)

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