In my earlier blogpost I pointed out the similarities between the Netflix movie Skater Girl and the Janwaar story. Now I’d like to focus on what is different in REAL life – and what is written below is based on Mannan’s thoughts while and after watching the movie. Mannan was with me in the days the filmteam approched us. These are his words.


REAL: In Janwaar, Ulrike didn’t have any connection to the village. What drove her was curiosity, the desire to bring change by challenging the status quo in one of the most challenging places in India.

REEL: In the movie a british indian girl comes back to her roots (where her father was born) and decides to do something for the kids of the village.


REAL: In reality the process is not so easy. In Janwaar, raising funds is itself a process. A process of collaboration. Artists around the world converted skateboards into artboards, which were auctioned off to raise the money for the skatepark.

REEL: In the movie the girl gets the land from the queen and apparently also the money to build the skatepark.


REAL: In this case the reality is much darker, winning a skateboarding competition is just the beginning, the real challenges start afterwards. The parents still don’t agree easily, it takes months and years to convince them to let the daughter pursue her dreams. In many cases, the girl is married (Abhilasha) or taken away from the skatepark for good before real change could happen. Luckily, Asha survived the constant pressure to give up.

REEL: The movie ends with a skateboarding competition which the skater girl wins and the speech of the queen and the parents suddenly accepts what the daughter wanted.


REAL: In reality this goes much deeper than these unrelated acts. In Janwaar, there is a real mindset barrier. Even in kids, it is engrained from an early age, that their life will be the same as their parents, laboring for others, picking wood or pursuing subsistence farming. Even for Asha, Anil or Arun, who have progressed the most, there is a real possibility that they might go back to their original mindset if there is no one to guide them constantly.

REEL: The movie touches on the situation of adivasis by showing scenes like the teacher asking the skater girl to clean the school, or showing worn out clothes.


The movie shows how to start a change movement. This is fun and exciting … to initiate change! The challenging part is to take the change to a level where it becomes the new norm. This is what Ulrike has been striving for over the last seven years in Janwaar. 

This is inspiring!


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