The first skatepark in rural India

Wow, what a ride so far!

Eight month ago we decided to build a skatepark with learning facilities in rural India. To be more precise: in Panna, a small buzzling town in Madhya Pradesh (MP), Central India. Even though Panna is close to Khajuraho with its world famous temples and the Panna National Park (currently 23 tigers), in the town you never ever see a tourist. Actually I’ve never seen a white person there in the last three years. It will be the first skatepark in a rural area in India. For us it’s another important milestone in implementing our ideas of the we_school-concept. It is going to be a place where children can come and skateboard and learn – in a computer lab, library and a buildathon, a room in which they can build stuff.

On Dec. 3 we will start building.

To finance this entire endevour we did an auction where we auctioned ARTBOARD – skateboards which were designed by artists all over the world. We will do another one this month – it will start November 15 and end Nov. 22 at 2 pm GMT-1!

If you don’t want to participate in our auction but still want to donate please use this bank account: we partner with skate-aid – they forward 100% of all the donations coming in and you will get a tax deductable receipt!

skate-aid e.V München
bank: Sparkasse Münsterland Ost
IBAN   DE57 400 501 50 0000 55 17 39

Thanks for your support!

People are often surprised when they hear this story and ask me why a skatepark and why Panna. We’ve chosen Panna because of four major reasons:

  • we are well connected there and it was easy to create a great team of highly committed people
  • land was available with connection to water and electricity
  • social infrastructure is good, meaning there are schools and children around and
  • as in almost any rural area besides cricket there are no other sports facilities.

And here again a small chapter why we think to combine learning and skateboarding is a good thing to do (by Nicola Claire):

The idea of combining fun with learning is not new, indeed, it is fundamentally the way children learn. We are taking this concept and constructing an environment which intrinsically combines an activity that is fun, but at the same time requires acquired skill, knowledge and practise, with a learning environment which provides that skill and knowledge. The young people will also have the opportunity to develop and extend their learning at a we-school hub on the same site. The young people who come to the skate-park will find everything that they need, from building their skateboard to becoming proficient users. Through the process they will learn English and maths. They will gain an understanding of force, balance and weight. They will experiment with art, colours, styles and design. They will discover body and muscle control, healthy eating and life-style choices. Above all, they will find ways to take what they have learnt back to their families and communities to support and enhance the quality of daily living.

The central figures in the local team are Shyamendra Singh aka Vini and Sanjay Tiwari aka Mantu, a local business man and the first one in Panna holding a press card. Mantu is providing the land for the skatepark and he will run its operations. Vini is a truly respected person in the area. He owns several lodges in the National Park and is highly committed to eco-friendly tourism and organic farming. For all his lodges the food is growing in the neighbouring fields – providing the local farmers a small but steady income. All food is organic – they only serve what nature has to offer. Most of his employees are locals. Many of them have been with him for many years and it’s very nice to see them “grow”.

Besides the locals we are very lucky to have Titus Dittmanns skate-aid e.V. on board – they bring in the entire expertise how to build a park. With their help we are able to raise our funds tax free and they connected us with the architect of the park (see plan and model below) and the head of construction Baumi.

Baumi, who has build several skateparks before, will lead the team of experienced skateboarders from Germany and Dehli and Bangalore in India plus local workers. I can’t wait to have all of them here early in December.

Below is a video of Shake whom I met last year in Bangalore and who also will come to help building our park! He provides some insights what is driving him to set-up skateparks

I have to say that everybody involved so far VOLUNTEERED. These guys come down here and work for 8 weeks for free!!! I only provide food and accomodation ! I think this is outstanding!

THANK YOU for that!

Here is the plan of the park:

Grundlage Pana

And here is the 3D-model:

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