Recycled Play Structures Bring Joy to Schools in Rural India

Kids on a play structure made of recycled materials in India.

Visiting some village schools in rural India, artist Shilpa Joglekar was struck by what she described as the "starkness in their environment" -- bare dirt lots with nowhere for kids to play. Utilizing scrap from junkyards that was plentiful in the area, she enlisted local students and teachers to build their own recycled-material play structures.

Many village children in the tribal areas of Maharashtra are left alone for months at a time while their parents travel long distances to try and find work, the Mumbai-based artist wrote on her blog about the project:

What I understood from the teachers is that it is very difficult for them to convince the children to come regularly to the school and attend their classes. By creating these play areas the school premises became a place of attraction... once the children come to play at school it will be easy for them to bring them into the classrooms.

Artist Shilpa Joglekar working on the 'Box of Windmills' play structure in Taiwan.

Children and their teachers helped Joglekar clear the schoolyard of garbage and dead trees. She found old tires, slides, and metal pipes in various junkyards and assembled them into new places to play.

Recycled-Bamboo Jungle Gym
The project echoes work the artist created during a residency at the 2010 Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project in Taiwan, where she worked with local schoolchildren to create a jungle gym from recycled bamboo and natural rope and decorated with paper windmills made by the kids. Jane Ingram Allen, the curator of the Cheng Long project, wrote to TreeHugger about Joglekar's work:

The finished 'Box of Windmills' jungle gym.

"The 'Box of Windmills' that Shilpa created was a wonderful place for the children to play in Cheng Long and also taught them about re-use of materials and using natural materials to make the environment better."

Recycled Play Structures Bring Joy to Schools in Rural India
Artist Shilpa Joglekar works with rural communities in India and Taiwan to create much-needed play structures out of natural and recycled materials.

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