Kids’ hospital stays to get better as celebrities narrate stories


Mumbai : Injections, lots of medicines and deafening silence – spending time at hospitals can be depressing, especially for children. Uday Foundation, an NGO, will help pep up hospital stay with storytelling sessions by celebrities.

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The first such session will be held at Hinduja Hospital here Nov 14 with Bollywood scriptwriter Jaideep Sahni turning storyteller along with director Imtiaz Ali.

“The programme is starting on Children’s Day Nov 14 at Hinduja Hospital,” Rahul Verma of Uday Foundation told IANS.

“Jaideep Sahni will start the programme with a storytelling session to the kids admitted to the paediatric ward. Our other storytelling volunteers will also join in,” Verma added.

Sahni is the writer of movies like “Chak De! India” and “Khosla Ka Ghosla”.

“‘Jab We Met’ director Imtiaz Ali is also expected to join Jaideep on Saturday. Thereafter, our storytellers (volunteers) will visit the hospital every day to do a bedside storytelling to the kids,” he added.

“The volunteers would also involve kids in other fun activities like colouring, painting and a few indoor games,” Verma said.

Asked the reason behind such a programme, Verma said: “It’s generally not a lot of fun for anyone to be in a hospital, but it’s especially tough on kids. Though doctors, nurses, families and friends make long stays more bearable, there is still much time where they can feel lonely, bored and scared. The programme will help children overcome their fear, anxieties, stress and discomfort.”

In Delhi, the programme had started in August and Deputy Commissioner of Police H.G.S. Dhaliwal was the first to do the storytelling.

“We have around 700 volunteers in Mumbai itself who have shown interest in storytelling. All over India, we have over 1,800 such volunteers,” Verma said.

Similar to Delhi, the NGO also intends to set up a small library in the play area of the children’s ward in the hospitals with a variety of story books like age-old classics, mythological stories, comics and some basic school books.