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Skateboarding in rural India flips kids lives


Skateboarding in rural India flips kids lives

Janwaar Castle is a learning camp with a skatepark at its core. It's a social experiment and the goal is to transform the village of Janwaar into a wealthier and more prosperous place.

A sport which has long been identified with urban neighbourhoods across the world, is being used in a village in central India as a trigger for social change.

Ulrike Reinhard – a German national – established a skate park in Janwar, Madhya Pradesh in February 2015, with the help of a few Indian and international skateboarding organisations. The region to which the village belongs is notorious for being one of the most socially and economically backward areas of the country.

Untouchability, gender inequality, illiteracy, and alcoholism are rampant here. Through the voices of Ulrike and the children of the village, the film documents how the skate park is gradually changing the social fabric of the village and addressing some of its most deep rooted issues.

The purpose of the Janwaar Castle Community Organization is to uplift the lives of the villagers in Janwaar, especially those of the Janwaar children.

Recently, 101 Subway featured a documentary about the programme:

Our skatepark at Janwaar Castle is THE center of attraction for all the kids in the village. It’s like a magnet.It’s so powerful that the kids go to government school more often now, because we’ve set up a rule: No government school, no skateboarding!

At Janwaar Castle we cooperate closely with the government school – we provided them computer and tablets for their own classes – and the principal is very interested in what we do. He clearly understands how the regular school can benefit from what we do. So this is ideal and gives us a lot of space to really do at Janwaar Castle what they would never ever do at school.

The skatepark is 450 sqm big. It’s the first park in rural India and it’s the largest one in India. We’ve started building in December 2014 and finished by February 2015. 12 volunteers from seven countries came for construction. Their names will be cherished at the park. With the support of skate-aid e.V. in Münster, Germany and freemotion in Delhi, India we’ve managed to provide 12 used skateboards and sets of helmets and safety pads. The park was financed through an auction. We’ve asked artists from around the world to turn a SKATEBOARD into an ARTBOARD. The invitation has been taken up not just by “hotshot” artists but also by the local kids. In short, we’ve assembled a richly diversified group of people who all wish to see social change and support it – for a wide variety of reasons in a wide variety of forms.

The general idea of the skatepark is to bring some fun into the children’s live and to let them learn new skills by playing. This will give them trust and confidence as they learn to develop new social skills and learn what it takes to commit themselves to a set goal. And on top of that it will strengthen their physical health and give them a better feeling of their bodies. 

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]


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Ulrike Reinhard


Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - 23:00