Playing with a skateboard in India is still not popular but it has not stopped India’s largest Skatepark in the remote village of Janwaar to provide the people living there with a better life.
India is an incredible country; the culture, the history and people are truly remarkable. That being said, in this age too there are several villages in our nation that are laid back from the waves of a better future.u
The poor condition of living, sanitation and the backwards mentality of the people have stopped the time to improving these parts.
As a result, people are still living in a dark age where there are hostilities among the castes or social groups;
the women are highly neglected hence the ideas of gender equality is still a foreign concept in those areas and most of all the children, the future of the country are being guided to a wrong way due to the ill practices and unfriendly environment in those backward villages.
Though the Government is trying to change the scenario but it is our duty too to hold the hands of those backwards communities and help them to come out in the light from the darkness;
we will have to walk on the path that Ulrike Reinhard showed us in Janwaar of Panna district in Madhya Pradesh.
The tale of Janwaar Castle
Janwaar is a village in the state of Madhya Pradesh which even in this era was highly backwards in all ways.
There was a constant rivalry between two castes, Adivasis and Yadavs. Instead of getting along to make the village a better place; these two casts always had their swords drawn to each other’s neck.
Thus, the living condition in Janwaar was very poor; there was a shortage of proper drinking water, sanitation and the villagers were far way from living a healthy life.
Moreover, the condition of women was terrible; they were highly neglected, abused and were not allowed to have the mandatory rights like education. Children were not interested in school and they were following the path that their elders had followed.
The Guardian Angel
Janwaar had a dead silence prevailing over it when their guardian angel arrived. Ulrike Reinhard is one of the best ladies that one will ever meet; her strength of character, her zeal to make the society a better place is undeniably very inspiring for every one of us out here.
Originally, a German native Ulrike spent her early years in the area of San Francisco Bay where she became an integral part of the Well community.
It has been 5 years since she arrived in India and 2.5 years she worked hard to transform the lives of the people in the village of Janwaar through her brilliant ideas and compassion towards the people.
She with the help of others built the magnificent skateboard park in India in the Janwaar village which became the centre for transforming the out of date conditions of Janwaar.
Now if you visit the village, you will be able to see the difference as it is now full of life and you might actually get the glimpse of the village’s favourite lady riding the roads in her Royal Enfield bike which she preferred to be called “Srini”.
Skateboard Park: The beginning of the transformation
Skateboard in India is still not a popular item with which the children are used to play hence skateboarding is a thing that presumably only the city kids are familiar with.
Hence, when we hear about the skateboard park in our country we presume that it might be located in a big metropolitan city. But that is not true; the lovely skateboard park in India is located in the remote village of Janwaar in Madhya Pradesh.
The skateboard park of Janwaar is not just a place for having fun rather it is a place that promotes gender equality, inspires children to attend the schools and help to make the living conditions better.
This beautiful project could have happened in any of the 700,000 villages in India but Ulrike chose this region since it is one of the most backwards regions in the nation thus it had also gained the nickname “Wild Wild West of India”.
The best way to make a change in the community is by guiding the future generations, the children to the right direction and that is why Ms Reinhard chose to make the change through skateboarding.
During her times in Afghanistan Ulrike had a chance to visit a skateboard park where the girls used to play with skateboards without any hesitation along with the boys and that was very rare in that country.
Thus, she came up with the idea of changing the conditions of Janwaar by giving the park that will allow children to play with a skateboard in India.
With the support from skate-aid, a German company and Freemotion from Delhi, Ulrike managed to get 12 skateboards and the safety kits.
Twelve volunteers from seven different countries came to Janwaar to help Ulrike build the largest Skatepark in India. The project started in 2014 and by 2015 Janwaar had its own Skatepark.
She introduced few rules which proved to be very efficient in changing the conditions there. The first rule that she set for her Skatepark was “Girls First”; the motive behind this rule was to improve the tough conditions of women living in the village.
The rule brought the girls who were deprived of having an enjoyable life like boys; it also taught the boys coming to the Skatepark to respect the females and to consider them as their equals.
Previously the women in the village used to be harassed by the male populace which started to change and as of now, the girls can live a lot freely without having to be scared of the men.
The other rule that Ms Reinhard devised was “No school, No skateboarding”, this created an urge among the children who used to run away from the school to regularly attend the classes in order to spend to be allowed in the Skatepark.
The kids were swamped to the school and the local government school had to get a new teacher to deal with this sudden influx of students. The children are the future of this nation thus a proper education is an utmost necessity for them and this simple rule secured that for the children of Janwaar.
The Skatepark is not just a place for playing for these little barefoot skaters but it is also a place where they are taught the 3D-modelling, singing, dancing, different form of arts and other extracurricular activities which are essential for them to grow up to become responsible human beings.
The Skatepark also attracted many NGOs, communities and other social workers around the world to come to Janwaar to strip of the place of its misery by ensuring the supply of proper drinking water, sanitation, electricity etc.
The park started a movement which does not create amazingly talented barefoot skaters but it also helped to change the scenario of the village completely for the good.
Ulrike Reinhard and her brainchild the Skatepark of Janwaar is an inspiration to all of us and to the whole world to do something to make a better place.
It is the time that we follow the footsteps of Ulrike and bring a change in the society by making it safe and sound for our women and for every human being by improving their living conditions.
Featured Image: Vicky Roy