This blog post I’ve written in my function as founder and member of the board of The Rural Changemaker e.V.
As an offshot of the The Rural Changemaker e.V., Berlin, Germany, the Barefoot Skateboarders Organization is an independent section 8 company, registered in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. It was registered in September 2019. It serves the village of Janwaar. It was founded by the youth of Janwaar – two of the young leaders, Asha Gond and Karan Yadav are directors and have taken the responsibility to make Janwaar a better place while at the same time become financially independent.
Primarily the work focusses on the development of the children. With the skatepark and the community center “Villa Janwaar” at its heart, this relatively new NGO will broaden the work which has been done over the past five years and transfer it to marketable services.
Skateboarding has already brought tangible change to the village – social, cultural and economic change. The kids hold skateboarding sessions, they run home stays in their villages, they have done merchandising and appear on public stage. Skateboarding has catapulted Janwaar on the international skateboarding map and it has become India’s skateboarding hotspot. Last year 11 of the 18 medals at the Indian Skateboarding Championships went to Janwaar, all the gold medal winners were proud Janwaar kids. Asha, one of the directors and Arun represented India at the World Skateboarding Championships in China last year – you can see an interview with Asha here:
Furthermore the “Janwaar” model has been replicated in three other villages in India (Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan). This has grown the network – which is not only on a national level established but also
Now that skateboarding has become Olympic discipline – it premieres in 2020 in Tokyo – the Barefoot Skateboarders Organization will use these upwinds to establish itself as an important player in the Indian skateboarding scene. We are better equipped than any other place in India with skateboarding facilities, the density of sqm/citizen is nowhere higher in the world than in Janwaar – and all of this in a remote village. This does have transformational powers.
The Barefoot Skateboarders Organization will promote competitions with other skateboarders, it will run student exchange programs and skateboarding workshops. It will continue the Open School Project with the
goal to improve education in the village – kids teaching kids (see more here: https://ruralchangemakers.com/open-school) – and make these young participants entrepreneurs. And with Asha at the forefront they will address more actively gender equality as well.
This company understands itself has a true change maker. The young leaders have decided to take their future in their own hands and transform their village. They do not aim to make a career in the urban areas – they focus on making their remote village a decent place to live in. And they believe that this is what India needs.