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Kids for a cause, straight from the art

- Initiative to tackle malnutrition

This Wednesday, your journey to and from office could be a much brighter one. Thousands of paintings by schoolchildren will adorn the walls of two Metro stations, all for a good cause.

The paintings, by students at schools in Calcutta and the suburbs, aim to raise awareness about malnutrition.

The exhibition is part of the Horlicks Aahar Abhiyan launched by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare in association with NGO Child In Need Institute (CINI), The Telegraph and Anandabazar Patrika.

“Displaying the paintings at the Metro stations is a great way of reaching out to and spreading awareness among the common people,” said Reeta Chatterjee, the principal of the Apeejay schools, which participated in the painting project.

The paintings will be displayed in the subways of Park Street and Esplanade stations. Almost 27,000 painting were collected from 154 schools, including South City International, Mahadevi Birla Girls Higher Secondary School, GB Memorial School, BD Memorial Institute, Indira Gandhi Memorial High School, Barasat, Don Bosco School, Bandel and Kalyani Public School, Bandel.

Of these, 7,000 — selected from all 154 schools — have been put up.

The weeklong exhibition will be inaugurated at 3pm on Wednesday by Sunil Mehra, the general manager (East) of GlaxoSmith- Kline Consumer Healthcare and P.B. Murty, the general manager of Metro Railway, at Park Street station.

“Art is the best medium of expression for a young mind and a paintbrush and colours are the best tools for children to let loose their emotions and creativity,” said Jayant Singh, director, marketing, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. “We have got a phenomenal response from Calcutta and would like to thank all schools for participating. This exhibition is an excellent platform to reach out to the people of the city.”

The first phase of the Horlicks Aahar Abhiyan will be implemented in the Mazdoorpara slums in ward 66 and the Chamrapatti slums in ward 65 of Calcutta and in the tea gardens of Dhupguri block in Jalpaiguri district.

The company will contribute Re 1 to the cause for every large pack of Horlicks sold in Bengal and has already donated Rs 5 million for the cause, which is being supported by actress Vidya Balan. The funds will be used by CINI for various Anganwadi programmes in the state.

“It’s heartening to see thousands of students from Calcutta extend their support to the cause of children in Bengal through these colourful creations,” said Rajib Haldar, additional director, CINI. “The initiative by Horlicks and CINI highlights their sensitivity to an issue of national significance.”

Metro Railway general manager Murty said: “It is good to see that such a serious issue is being dealt with on such a large scale. We are proud to be associated with the initiative.”