It is not an uncommon sight to see little girls and boys playing on streets which are unsafe and dangerous in India. Yes, it seems to be nerve wracking. However, we should all give it a deeper thought and understand the reason behind them playing on streets.
A recent article by 'The Hindu' caught our attention. It said "two little boys were engrossed in a game of badminton: their slippers served as racquets. Nearby, two other kids played atop broken sewer pipes."
Like us, this sight had made Pooka Rai rethink the situation, She says, “Playgrounds should not be a luxury. It is something every child should have access to for free.” At this juncture, Pooja Rai, a 23-year old of IIT-Kharagpur, a student of architecture, decided to create a unique playground made of used tyres for children within her campus.
In 2017, Pooja steps forward in creating a one-of-a-kind NGO called Anthill Creations that builds sustainable playgrounds for all kids. “This is a simple solution. We don’t understand that a child can learn so much while playing in a natural state.”
In the past few years, she has constructed playgrounds made of tyres for Government schools across 18 states of India. Her NGO also created community spaces by clearing dump yards in Bhubaneshwar and Bengaluru.
She says that they use near to 80 tyres to build a playground. The tyres are collected from scrap piles or is sponsored by tyre makers in India such as Michelin, Apollo Tyres, Ceat, Yokohama and many others.
Unlike other playgrounds, She and her NGO Created punching bags, and elements such as elephants horses and much more made out of tyres, so that kids can use their imagination to the at most extent. “We speak to children to ask them what they want and create accordingly,” Pooja says;
Last year, when lockdown was announced, Pooja realised that children would not be coming out to play anytime soon. “So I came up with ‘Play in a Box’ that has seven games. These can be played in three to four different ways.” Hence, her team has created kits that consists of domino blocks and Jenga-inspired games etc. “Each box is priced at ₹1,000 and we get corporates to sponsor boxes for different communities across the country,” she says, adding that they have sent around 5,000 boxes so far.
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Truely an inspiring story. What do you think about it? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.