It’s a little more than three years that the skatepark in Janwaar “came into life”. What unfolded in Janwaar is quite remarkable and we can tell some nice stories of change. The community of the kids – we call them The RuralChangemakers – is vibrant and more and more they are coming out of their shells.
Over the last two years probably 50 people have asked me to build a skatepark at their place. Many of them thought I would bring in the funds, the moment they heard they had to find the money and “run the show” in their own village, the enthusiasm rapidly declined. But with a few people it became a serious endevour and we are now ready to replicate the model in other places.
This makes me extremely happy and a bit proud 🙂
So the announcement we can make today: The first “inspired by Janwaar Castle” skatepark will be 100 km north of Bangalore, 10 km off the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway – in Protovillage. Protovillage is a long term initiative by Kalyan Akkipeddi and his wife Shobitha Kedlaya together with a team of roughly 15 people. On almost 13 acres of land they are building a self sustainable village – it includes a huge kitchen garden, an amphitheatre for cultural activities, a rural entrepreneurial center, a hacker space, a school …. – everything is built “green”, needless to say that agriculture is purely organic and water harvesting is always part of the game. The entire village is solar powered. Protovillage has a significent impact of the surrounding 80 villages.
I first met Kalyan a year and a half ago at Antje Pfahl’s TEDxGurugram event. Back then he greeted me with the words: “I want a skatepark in my village!” And I simply answered: “Why not!” Since then we kept talking and exchanging news. The last one and a half days I spent in Protoville. I feel I couldn’t have found a better place to replicate the model. The Protovillage team follows in their own work our mantra “With the villagers, for the villagers!” and they have clearly understood the idea of “open” – meaning no pre-defined programs but rather creating a space out of which many other things can emerge. They are already practicing this in their daily work.
The skatepark will become an essential part of the sports area in Protoville – and for the first time we will use the ancient Chuna Kachchi method to build a skatepark. This technique replaces cement, an industrial product, with naturally available material – limestone, jaggery, lentil water and stone fruit water. Such a structure is said to be much stronger than concrete mix. Even though it’s roughly 20-25% more expensive than concrete – its advantages sound promising.
So 400 square meters are already levelled in Protoville, sand and soil is laying their to be used. If all works out as planned we start building in the 2nd or 3rd week of June !!! Some of the Janwaar kids will be there as well and set the ground for the children in and around Protoville!