In order to democratize play and reuse and recycle old materials, Pooja Rai established Anthill Creations. The non-profits builds playgrounds for all using old tires.
A woman in the city of Bengaluru in southern India upcycles old tires to make beautiful playgrounds for children to play in. So far, she has built 283 different play spaces for young children using recycled tires. Pooja Rai, who founded the non-profit organization Antilhill Creations, has made it her mission to ensure all children have access to safe spaces to play. In India, public play spaces, particularly for marginalized children, are seen as a luxury. Through her spaces, Rai not only democratizes play, but also ensures children understand the value of "reduce, reuse, recycle," Good News Network reports.
Rai said in an interview, "We live in a world where play, such an essential part of growing up, is now viewed as a luxury and even thought of as unnecessary." Much of her work is made possible through donations, as India is one of the only countries to mandate corporate social responsibility. Through these donations, Rai and her organization Anthill Creations can build a small play space for the cost of $800. Larger playgrounds can cost up to four times as much. No matter what size the playgrounds are though, they all feature old tires recycled into fun playground structures.
To construct the structures out of recycled tires, Rai engages volunteers looking to do good within their communities. Thus far, over 800 people have volunteered to be part of the movement to make play accessible to all children in an environmentally friendly manner. The playgrounds are constructed in schools, public parks, and even refugee camps. The playgrounds are customized as per the needs of the children in the community. That includes a specialty space for blind children, nautical-themed installations for coastal communities, or even a boxing ring in place of a jungle gym with tires instead of punching bags.
Vikas Keshri, a volunteer, said of the volunteering experience with Anthill Creations, "It has been a really gratifying and joyful experience to be part of Anthill Creations and to bring smiles and play to thousands of kids." Rai, too, has found the experience incredibly fulfilling. "We often forget how vulnerable these growing years can be," she stated. "The right to play should be considered critical to a child’s cognitive growth, physical, and emotional well-being—we believe that it is indeed a basic human right." If you would like to learn more about Anthill Creations and their work, you can follow them on Facebook or visit their website.