Treating patients of burn injuries with “distraction therapy”, the National Burns Centre (NBC) in Airoli has started a butterfly garden for its patients. “Butterflies are beautiful creatures who just keep fluttering around. I thought why not add a streak of colour in the difficult life of my patients,” said Sunil Keswani, the director of the hospital.
The garden, he said, was set up with the view to treating patients who suffer burns and often suffer from depression or post-burn psychosis. It will, however, be opened to patients after monsoon.
The Butterfly Garden is spread across 1 acre and has about 75-80 species of butterflies. This garden has nectarine and host plants. The garden is an artificial habitat created for butterflies. “We also keep papayas, guavas and pomegranates in a bowl here at the garden and after they are overripe, they too become a great source of nectar for the butterflies,” said Navin Vazirani, a butterfly scout and a staff member at the National Burns Centre.
The seeds of the Butterfly Garden were sown at NBC after Keswani’s talk on skin donation at the Rotary Club in Dombivali two years ago, where he saw a Butterfly Garden for the first time and roped in Divakar Thombre, the former secretary of Bombay Natural History Society, to set one up at the NBC.
“It would be a breath of fresh air for patients to be taken into the open on wheelchairs and crutches after staying locked in the cemented cold rooms for 2-3 months,” said Keswani. “But we need to be extremely careful as to when can we take them out. We can take them into the open only after the skin has been grafted and when they are not prone to skin infections anymore,” added Keswani.
Dr Keswani plans on letting the patients into the Butterfly Garden once the rainy season is over. “As one thing leads to another, I came up with another little idea. I thought of children and how they love to chase the butterflies and so once the rainy season is over, the gates of this butterfly garden will be opened to school students too,” Keswani, who said he is fond of children, added.
“There is a dual purpose of bringing the children in here —first, we teach them to go green and second, I will give them a small talk on skin donation too. So that way, we’ll make them both environment friendly and aware about organ donation and doing community service,” On July 15, the first batch of 120 school students will be stepping into the Butterfly Garden. Keswani has already got 14 ICSE school principals on board who have agreed to send their students to visit the garden.