Learning Story – Pooja
In my final year of college at IIT Kharagpur, I used to visit a residential school for underprivileged children called Disha Seema Care Centre to distribute sweets and food.
On one of my visits, I noticed a group of children playing badminton using broken slippers. The younger children were playing around a broken cement pipe with stones and sticks.
One could see that there was a dire need for object play, but it was missing. They definitely deserved more than this, why should access to a playground be a luxury? Why the perception that an open ground is somehow enough?
As an architect, I wanted to help these children and decided with a group of my friends to put the knowledge of design we had gained in the past 4 years into building a playground by using used tyres which people otherwise think is a waste and become breeding spots for mosquitoes.
We spent time with the community and kids to understand their perception of play and brought their imagination to reality.
With time we realized the magnitude of the problem and took this venture full-time. With rapid urbanization, children are missing out on the childhood they deserve. WHO study shows that 1 in 10 kids experience mental illness and this number is even higher for children coming from low-income families. This can be improved by bringing back play to children.
Over the past 5 years, we have reached out to over 100,000 children across 18 states in India and have built over 250 playgrounds. We are on a mission to make play accessible to every single child.
Let’s Bring Back Play!
Pooja is CEO of the Bangalore-based organization Anthill Creations which promotes ‘play for all’ and looks to rejuvenate public spaces for use by the community and especially by children. You can find out more about their work on their website and Instagram handle.
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