“Art is the highest form of hope.” - Gerhard Richter
The once colorless and bland walls of Kherla village, in the Mewat district are now a source of hope to its residents. Flashing vibrant colors, these walls depict stories and sketches that not only intend to motivate people to defy boundaries but also provides a source of employment. The area has earned a reputation as being a criminal hub, but they’re slowly on the road to redemption.
The initiative that instigated this change is the brainchild of a Gurgaon-based NGO Donate an Hour (DoaR), which usually focuses on rural education. But while the NGO was initially called in to improvise the standard of education in the village, Meenakshi Singh, the founder of DoAR discovered that the village was destitute not due to lack of schooling, but to a lack of opportunities.
To open the doors for more them and eliminate the need for a criminal subculture, the NGO decided to promote the village as a tourist destination. Inspired by the rainbow villages of Indonesia and Santorini in Greece, DoAR is encouraging the residents to paint their village. They are using wall art as a tool to draw in crowds and to promote local arts and crafts. Connected to the capital by just a 90-minute drive, Kherla is well within the tourist ambit. Although the residents were reluctant initially, they are now drawing sketches on the wall by themselves and each family gets their own supplies.
“We want to promote local arts and crafts to attract tourists. We want to make it an all-day visit for people- where they can eat local food, play marbles and other local sports, and also visit some historical monuments,” Singh said. The future of this initiative seems as brighter as the walls now, in the hope to set up roadside stalls and sell home-made items to increase the tourists.