Sumedh Sengaonkar, Barefoot Skateboarders, Janwar, Madhy Pradesh, Stopworthy, Stopcommotion

Barefoot Skateboarders

 

No matter how proud you feel when you say you’re from India, there is always a preconceived notion about us. And that notion is rather an inferior one. People always think about the small villages in India, stereotypical nature of the society, substandard infrastructure and all other unfavorable stuff. While metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangaluru might be miles away from such scenarios, these towns actually face the harsh reality of our so called ‘traditions’.

 

Gender inequality and casteism are quite prevalent in small towns across India but little is being done to alleviate this problem. One such village suffering from the same plight is Janwaar. Located in Panna district in Madhya Pradesh, this small town has a population of just over 1200 people. 1200 people who live in extreme poverty, without electricity and basic sanitation. The population primarily consists of two castes- Yadavs and Adivasis; strictly separated from one another on the basis of caste.

 

Little did these people know how a sport they didn’t even hear about in their life, would break the stereotypes existing in the society. Skateboarding- a sport which has long been identified with urban neighborhoods 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 with the sole purpose of tackling the issues of untouchability, gender inequality, illiteracy, and alcoholism.
Watch the short film ‘Barefoot Skateboarders of India’ documented by 101 India and see how the sport has not only become a passion for the children of the village, but has become a way to pull them out of their misery and hardships. 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.

Posted in About a Cause.

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