Although hospitalized, the children in Hadassah Hospital-Ein Kerem’s Pediatric Department have a new measure of joy in their lives thanks to an imaginative Head Nurse and her team.
“My goal was to make the department feel like home,” said Head Nurse Emanuelle Picard, who is known as “Mano.” When she shared her ideas with Prof. Dan Engelhard, head of Pediatrics at Ein Kerem, about brightening the 34-bed department with butterflies, he heartily endorsed the concept. Mano began by enlisting the aid of an artist to paint a butterfly on the ceiling of each young patient’s room. “Sometimes, when children have to return for treatment, they ask to go back to ‘their’ butterfly and be put in ‘their’ bed. I do my best to fulfill their wish,” says Mano.
The initial project took on momentum and expanded. Now there are butterflies all around the unit–for example, on the cloth that conceals a life-saving machine and opposite the Nurses’ Station, where Israeli Sculptor Dudu Gerstein’s fanciful creation adorns the wall. Believing that sick children need something familiar to look at during the long hours they lie in bed, Mano enlisted artists to paint murals on the walls of the children’s rooms as well. Now each child sees Dora, Winnie the Pooh, Bob the Builder, The Little Prince or another storybook character on the wall near his bed.
When Mano heard about “Children of the World Paint Peace,” a project of Dvorah and Dr. Eli Fischer of Fischer Pharmaceuticals, she contacted the head of this large Israeli corporation and asked him to donate some of the children’s prize-winning drawings. He agreed and now the artistic expressions of children from around the world beautify the corridor walls. Inspired by this project, Mano decided to ask the boys and girls in the department to create their own personal artistic versions of peace. She approached the teachers in Hadassah’s hospital school, who happily lent their expertise, discussing the concept of peace with the children and helping them translate their perceptions into paintings.
“The sight of Israeli and Palestinian children ‘painting peace’ said more than their pictures could ever convey,” comments Prof. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, Director General of the Hadassah Medical Center. “Their interaction,” he adds, “is a vibrant testimony to Hadassah’s understanding that medicine knows no borders and that within our walls, medicine can serve as a bridge to peace.”