Saturday, 14 February 2009

So many ways to help others

This week I spent four days at the Children's Hospital of the University of Helsinki. There are many patients, whose parents are at work and the nurses are always busy, so I try to help out sometimes. There is so much you can do to help without a nurse's training to make the patients feel a little less lonely: reading books, helping them eat or just sitting by the bedside when they come back to the ward from their operation.

The hospital building is built during and after the WWII. This picture of a mother and a child must be from that time.

The original benches in the entrance lobby are very uncomfortable, but the modern pillows are a great help:

These elephants and flamingoes are are donated by Marimekko.

This is the part I love, being a child from the fifties and growing up waiting for new Moomin books to be written. Tove Jansson painted this picture for the stairwell of another chlidren's hospital in Helsinki. That hospital was later changed to take adult patients only. The paintings were copied by art students and painted again in 1998 in this hospital, with the blessing of Tove Jansson.

I love the way the characters are running up the stairs, smiling happily. In the next picture is the framed story about the history of this mural, and in the lower part of the paper a copy of Tove's handwritten letter expressing her joy for the continued life of her characters, to cheer up new generations of child patients.

These stairs come from the entrance floor to the next one.

Isn't the horse just lovely?

This spinster auntie is hurrying with her nieces to bring gifts and flowers to someone.

The operation ward greets the little patients with teddy bears in green. I get this far with the patients, the mothers of young kids are only allowed to the elevator doors, to avoid any separation drama up here.

I love this owl door. It leads to the recovery room, reminding everyone on this side that there are people asleep even when it is daytime. On the inside of the door is another painting, with sunshine and a little bird singing.

There are some professional visitors on the wards, too. Every Tuesday two hospital clowns come to meet the patients who are well enough to have a laugh. You can see pictures of them here. The idea is brought from New York, where the first clown had her training at the Clown Care Unit . Today the Finnish clowns operate in three major children's hospitals for free.

I finished some hand sewing there while my patient slept, but the project still needs some machine sewing before it is ready for photographing. My mind is full of ideas for projects for the Australian bush fire victims. Pip from Meet me at Mikes has done a wonderful job organizing ways to donate, and her sidebar shows numerous links for those who want to help.


  1. Although hospitals are serious places how wonderful to help ease the anxiety with such happiness. I think adult hospitals could use the same touch. Absolutely LOVE the illustations by Tove Jansson. I'm a collector and lover of children's books. I think I'll head over to Amazon and see what I can find.

  2. Hello Dear Friend, Your pictures are beautiful and I am sure your work at the hospital this week was much appreciated by the little ones. You do so much for others. Hugs, Marie

  3. the wall illustrations are both happy and beautiful. you are very kind to spend your time to help. thank you for doing that.

  4. Thank you for showing the wonderful wall art by Tove Jansson. I think his work should be put on Novelty Fabric, don't you? Your generous service this last week was very much appreciated, I'm sure.

  5. You are truly a very nice person Ulla, I am very impressed...
    Love all the nice pictures on the wall. I wish you a lovely creative time, I am having one ....

  6. The paintings are so beautiful, I love the one with the princess and the Moomin couple, they are so sweet! Thanks for showing them!

  7. These paintings on the walls are SO much fun! There really are many ways to help.. we just need to look around. :-)

  8. I grew up with Moomin on the TV here- loved the characters. :-) Yes that horse is wonderful. I think art helps children so much in that situation.


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