Most of our fond childhood memories involve playing on the school playground, ambling with our best buddies and having the best time of our lives. Don’t we all long to relive those moments?
But not all kids have the same privilege like we did. Most government schools don’t have a functional playground as it isn’t easy to build and maintain one. Children hardly experience the unbridled joy of playing in swings, see saws and monkey bars. Anthill Creations, based out of Bangalore, has the motto of ‘making play accessible to all‘. Started by five engineering graduates from IIT, Kharagpur, this organisation is two-and-half years old and has successfully built 16 playgrounds across the country.
The organisation and its vision
When The Logical Indian spoke to Nancy, one of the co-founders of Anthill Creations, she said, “It all began with a project which we had to work on, in college. It panned out well and later we thought of taking it up as a full-time venture.” They built their first playground with tyres that were painted in vibrant colours.
The problem with interactive public spaces is that they are marred by traffic and over population. With an aim to revitalise diminishing public spaces, Anthill Creations began creating collaborative interactive ventures with nature. The organisation functions on the concepts of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. They aim at creating spaces that can mobilize the community to bring a holistic change, all by themselves. Anthill Creations uses street-scapes, public spaces and even parks to build playgrounds and that can also work as a hub for community interaction arenas. These public spaces are transformed into arenas which will successfully detach people from the virtual world and help them connect on an one-to-one basis.
Primarily aimed at creating play arenas for children, these interactive spaces also aim at catering to people with disabilities, elderly and disengaged public by constructing enabling environments for meet ups and generation of awareness.
How Does This Work
Tyres are one product that is discarded at a large scale every year. They hardly get recycled and they can be easily procured in a bulk. “The idea of creating playgrounds by up-cycled raw material like tyres struck us when we did our first project,” Nancy said. The tyres are painted in attractive colours which are extremely fetching for the children. “The sheer joyous expressions which we saw on their faces as they were playing in it is explicable. Those ear-to-ear grins and chirpy laughter is what motivated us to continue with the idea, execute it in a larger scale and give up our respective jobs to work full-time for it,” Nancy adds.
To bring back play to all children in India by making it accessible is the vision with which the Anthill creations had flagged off. The premise of conceptualising this idea lies in the belief that kids deserve a better playground. There is a much bigger need of playgrounds in the country and most schools don’t have functional playgrounds. As architects, they wanted to bring a solution to these problems that is scale-able in nature. As of now, Anthill Creations has devised playgrounds in Pondicherry, Bangalore, Pune, New Delhi and also has earned international acclaim by building one in Nepal.
These playgrounds are helpful for those kids who are coming from traumatic backgrounds. As we all know, playing helps in mental, emotional and in physical development. Active playing will help them in social development as well. Most of these kids have faced domestic violence at their home-front and that tends to get reflected even when they interact with their friends. They tend to beat others up. With regular exposure to active playing, they have started to harbour a change in their attitude. “These children have started opening up and their public interaction has also changed to a great deal. It also inspires them to come to school. These are the happy hours that these kids get,” Nancy said. These kids now know how to speak up for themselves and they now are more confident and positive.
One of the major challenges they faced was to convince the authorities that tyres can be used to built the playgrounds. Currently the challenge faced by Anthill is to create a replicable and scalable model which would enable them to achieve their goal of creating 1000 playgrounds by 2018. “We want to serve each kid in the country by providing them access to play,” Nancy says, with a tinge of hope resonating her voice.
The first playground through Anthill Creations was built with Mahindra Susten, a private company for solar power generation, where they explored other locally available material like oil drums along with tyres to build it. This playground also involved a great deal of community effort by providing people with the technical know-how and needed hand-holding to execute the project. A community leader is chosen and his skills in building the project is honed. She/he is empowered in a certain way to execute the project smoothly and it id mainly done by showing DIY videos developed by the architects. This Mahindra Susten project was based out of Shangri, which is a small village with only one school and only one playground. The entire community was involved in the project.
“We want to enable communities by all our DIY designs so that they take up the responsibility and they are the leaders of their community. This is our model of scaling. We are also exploring the opportunity of creating employment of the community leaders. We want to enable these leaders,” Nancy added.
On speaking to Nancy about her message for the readers of The Logical Indian, she said, “Let’s all do our bit in giving a better childhood to these kids. Together, we can at least spread a thousand smiles across the country.” The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly applauds the efforts taken up by Anthill to make play accessible to all. They are touching lives across the country and their dedication in spreading joy to hundreds of children.
To know more about the organisation, you can visit Anthill Creations here.
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