delhi’s San­jay camp gets a colour­ful makeover

Governance Now - - CONTENTS - – Rid­hima Ku­mar PHO­TOS by ARUN KU­MAR

The next time you pass by chanakya­puri in delhi do take a de­tour and visit san­jay camp. The slum won’t be an eye­sore any­more. Painted in bright colours of red, blue, green and pur­ple – it is giv­ing a new lease of life to its res­i­dents. Eye-catch­ing graf­fiti on the faded walls, an­i­mated with do­rae­mon and Mickey Mouse, is bringing vigour and joy to the oth­er­wise gloomy slum. The slum re­sem­bles like the Brazil­ian favela burst­ing with colours.

The makeover was done by ngo But­ton Mush­rooms, brain­child of two delhi univer­sity’s Venkateswara col­lege grad­u­ates – isham sethi and PM shivani. The duo or­gan­ised an ini­tia­tive, ‘Kachi gali – Rang desh Ke’, in March with the help of shal­i­mar Paints to give a facelift to the slum in an artis­tic man­ner to spread smiles. “We started this ini­tia­tive to com­bine cre­ative power and so­cial change. cre­ativ­ity has a lot of power. it is an in­no­va­tive way to bring about a change in so­ci­ety,” says 22-year-old sethi. some of the mu­rals in the slum are even laden with so­cial mes­sages to save wa­ter and save the girl child.

Around 400 stu­dents of fine arts, mostly from the univer­sity of delhi, turned up for the two-day event in March to paint the slum. some pro­fes­sional artists have also lend a hand, rather brush, to make the place cheer­ful. “We wanted to paint the en­tire slum, but so far we have painted a lit­tle over 700 houses. This was our first phase. We plan to paint the re­main­ing houses be­fore diwali this year,” sethi adds.

But con­vinc­ing slum dwellers of this self­less ef­fort was not easy. scep­ti­cal of the ini­tia­tive, the res­i­dents were not able to un­der­stand why some­one would paint their houses for free. “some even laughed at us,” says Sethi. “But af­ter watch­ing our self­less ef­forts they got ex­cited about the idea and ev­ery­one wanted to get their houses painted. in fact, on the sec­ond day of the event, some slum dwellers also started paint­ing with us,” says sethi.

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