In the old days, you would see kids having fun on the school playground. Today that sight is getting rarer, unfortunately, but a woman in India is determined to change this. Young architect Pooja Rai designs colorful and safe playgrounds in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. She uses scrap tires to create cheap, durable play areas for children of all ages to enjoy.
With 100 million tires thrown away each year in India, you have a lot of materials to work with. Schools that need playgrounds contact Rai for a unique tire play landscape. So far, it has built 283 different play areas made almost exclusively of painted tires.
Because of his passion for providing children with safe places to play, he decided to start Anthill creations. The non-profit organization “aims to bring play back to all age groups by building sustainable play landscapes.” Utilize local resources and encourage communities to come together again through play.
Rai believes that all children deserve the right to play in a safe and interactive environment. However, many play areas have deteriorated due to lack of use. Unfortunately, recess and playtime have largely disappeared from most schools in India due to academic pressure. Teachers have more on their plates due to standardized tests, so students must spend more time learning.
This can help students pass their exams, but their physical health suffers. More children than ever are diagnosed with ADHD, and some experts believe lack of exercise is to blame. Rai hopes that the innovative playgrounds he helps design will encourage teachers to rethink playtime.
“We live in a world where gambling, such an essential part of growth, is now considered a luxury and even unnecessary,” Rai said in an interview with Christian Science Monitor.
Playgrounds help to renew the playful spirit of children.
The confinements over the past year it affected children in India. The school principal in a small town began to worry about attendance due to the high poverty in the area. Many parents had encouraged their children to take jobs in local packaging industries for additional income.
The future of the school looked bleak until they enlisted Ms. Rai’s help. The school thought that the redesign of its playground would spark children’s interest again, increasing attendance. The school raised funds for the playground and a local bank even agreed to donate to the cause. The new play space contains two tire swings and a motorcycle; it’s not much, but kids love it.
Srilekha Murlikrishnan, a second grader, says he loves the blue tire swing even more than a normal swing. “I am more flexible and I can twist my body through the hole,” he says. “I come to school now just to play here every day, and I’m really looking forward to it opening again.”
Rai says the lack of public playgrounds for children in India it greatly inspires his vision. In fact, he saw firsthand the need for more playgrounds during his college years. One day he went with a friend to a local orphanage and saw children playing with dangerous objects.
“The kids would play with whatever they could get their hands on,” she says. One group played with a broken metal tube and even started swinging it like a sword. Two boys used their flip flops as rackets to play badminton. Although the children seemed happy, Ms. Rai felt that they deserved better. “Gambling shouldn’t just be part of the lifestyle of a wealthy and privileged kid. All children have the right to enjoy their childhood, ”he says.
Lack of adequate play areas in India inspired Anthill Creations
A few weeks after the orphanage visit, Rai began formulating a plan. He spoke with friends about raising funds to build affordable playgrounds; however, he wondered how to do it. One day, he had the idea of using old tires as play equipment. After all, many were thrown away, so why not put them to good use?
In 2015, they built the first playground out of dozens of recycled tires, all inspected for safety and painted in vibrant colors. The following year, Anthill was born, and since then they have built nearly 300 play areas with the help of 800 volunteers. Most of the playgrounds the company creates have classic components such as swings, jungle gyms, and seesaws. They also build fun and unique tire sculptures such as cars, buildings, or animals, which makes the play areas attractive for children.
The team begins a project by collecting tires, which are cleaned and examined for safety hazards. They then paint them in various bright colors and drill holes to prevent rainwater from pooling inside. Rai makes sure to meet up with the kids to find out what they want on a playground.
After having all the materials and design ideas ready, they worked on a budget. A small playground costs around $ 800, and larger ones can be up to four times more expensive.
However, the nonprofit organization receives help from generous donors who sponsor most of the playgrounds. India is the first country to require corporations to donate part of their profits to charities. Therefore, Anthill helps schools connect with corporate fundraising partners for help with a playground.
Where they install play equipment for children
They build the playgrounds in schools as well as public parks and refugee camps. Volunteers get creative with the designs, creating animals and even boats out of tires.
One girl’s school in Bangalore even wanted a boxing ring and punching bags made of tires. While their teacher worried that they would get hurt, the girls insisted that they wanted the space to practice self-defense. In December 2019, the one-time request for a playground came true.
Final thoughts on how a woman in India creates playgrounds for children out of old tires
The playgrounds that Rai and his team have created help illuminate the environment and children’s lives. They envisioned a safe and affordable way to build play areas so children could enjoy their youth. This vision came true and thousands of children have benefited from the charity.
“We often forget how vulnerable these growing years can be,” Rai said. CSM. “The right to play must be considered fundamental for the cognitive growth, physical and emotional well-being of a child; We believe that, in fact, it is a basic human right ”.