Skateboarding in rural India
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Transcript of Skateboarding in rural India
WORDS AND PHOTOS: ULRIKE REINHARD
There are a growing number of skateboard parks in Indiaboth indoor and outdoor. You can find them in cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Mumbai, although they are not yet found in rural areas. The great thing to see is that all of these skateparks are working together with schools. In fact, one school in Bangalore will soon include skateboarding in its teaching curriculum. Some may ask: skateboarding as a subject in school? Why not, I would argue.
What I have seen in the skateparks, and what I have heard from people running the parks, encourages me to think about combining skateboarding with learning. Here are some of the results weve seen when Indian children spend time at skateparks:
anincreaseinmannerswhendealingwitheachother animprovedsenseof engagement,commitment,and
dedication abeautifulmixof childrenwithvariousbackgrounds
InBangalore,Imeta13-year-oldboywhotrulyimpressedme.Forhim,theskateparkislife-changing.Insteadof hanging out with the wrong crowd and being a big troublemakerforhismother,heisnowfullyengagedinskateboarding. And trust me, he does it well! He is still refusingtogotoschool.Hedroppedouttwoyearsago.Butwithaprettyclearstatement,hetoldmethathedecidedtoworkandearnmoneytopayforhislittlebrotherseducation instead. He feels that his chances of returning to school are gone, and he doesnt want to join classes with kids whoaretwoyearsyoungerthanheis.
Heisaverystrong-mindedboy,andIcouldtellheissmartandagoodkid.Hefoundself-confidenceintheskatepark.Itreallyshapedhispersonalityinaverypositiveway.Iwasso amazed to see how he is handling the skateboard after onlyfivemonthsof practicing.Iamsure,withorwithoutschool,thefloorwillbehis!
It Starts with a Skateboard
And they didnt know what a skateboard was!
All this encouraged me to run a workshop. So, eight weeks ago, we went to Jodhpur, a tiny little village thats about a three-hour drive from the bustling city of Delhi, to run a three-day painting and skateboarding event. Allthepicturesyouseeherewere
taken there. The area is considered to beoneof thepoorestinthecountry.
And the kids who go to school in this villageonly30%probablydohave
never ever had lessons in sports or arts. Imagine they had never painted before!Theyneitherhadpaper to paint on nor pencils or colors topaintwith.Andtheydidntknow
what a skateboard was!
So there we were with our painting and skateboarding workshop endeavor. Almost in the middle of nowhere!
The toughest part of the workshop was to find a place where the kids could skate because there are no paved roads in the village and no concrete places around. Theonlyplacewecouldfindwasa
wonderful place. Overlooking the entire village, we could see a working camel walking around, buffalos, cows, goats, andplentyof dogs.We used one part of the roof for painting and the other half for skateboarding. During the entire threedays,wehadabout100children
It was so much fun.
what the workshop showed us was:
because, in both cases, the kids see and feel the immediate results of whattheyaredoing.
much more important to just start doing them!
And above all: Alearningenvironmentmatters.
continue with our workshops, and we are even thinking about building a small skatepark in the village of Jodhpurwith help from near and far.
_________________Ulrike Reinhard is the founder and editor of we-magazine, which aims to examine how we can change the world for the good with the use of the Internet. In all her work, Ulrike tries to empower people and change lives, as well as the world. For more information on the endeavors of we-magazine, including its efforts to build a skatepark in Jodhpur, you can
email [email protected]