What can be done with a little imagination and a lot of determination? Here’s a great example of how it’s possible to make something valuable from next to nothing.
Aaron and Debora Walling have become my good friends as a result of my work with Splash (www.splash.org). Aaron and Debora moved to Kolkata in 2012 and you might think that they have more than enough to keep them busy. Aaron is Regional Manager for Splash, looking after the NGOs water improvement projects in India and Nepal (no small task). Debora writes eloquently, photographs beautifully, volunteers at local projects and cooks a scrumptious pasta and a heavenly apple crumble (far too many talents for one person).
But that’s not all. I was delighted to learn about their “weekend project” and even more delighted when they invited me to join them at “Kolkata Skateboarding“, which they run for local kids every Saturday afternoon.
Their dream is to “have a thriving skateboarding community and an awesome skatepark where kids can be kids – to create, dream and play.”
Aaron and Debora have provided all the gear, from skateboards to helmets and pads and commandeered a disused building in a leafy Kolkata suburb. However, this is no random project, thrown together on a whim. Kids each have name badges and are provided with new helmets, pads and shoes suitable for skateboarding. Then with the encouragement and enthusiasm that I’ve grown used to seeing from Aaron, Debora and their team of volunteers, the kids learn the techniques of safe but exciting skateboarding. Frankly, I was jealous but felt that it might be seen as rude to deprive a small child of a skateboard.
It all goes to prove that a little organisation and enthusiasm can go a long way. The Saturday classes are already over-subscribed but kids who didn’t get to skate were able to join an impromptu hip-hop dance class.
There may be better ways to spend a Saturday afternoon but I can’t think of many.