"Janwaar" (2019)

Two weeks
Sixteen skateboarders 
From ten countries
Together on a bus across India
Searching for concrete waves
Seeking connection
Shaping change

We meet up in Delhi
Take an overnight train to Khajuraho
Drive for two hours through the heart of India 
Until we arrive at Janwaar, Madhya Pradesh
A rural village that is home to a global movement

Here,
“No school, no skateboarding” is a way of life
And girls skate alongside boys
As proud parents watch society transform

Janwaar becomes our sanctuary for five days
As we learn Hindi, drink countless cups of masala chai,
And teach local village girls how to skateboard

On the last day
Our host mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunties
Usher us into a room where together,
They dress us in lavish saris
Tucking love into each fold
And send us off to the skate park
Feminine and powerful

Here,
Together,
We are making history
Pushing boarders
Creating alternative futures

A new world is born
Every time a girl drops in for the first time
And a smile takes over her face
As she pushes towards her own liberation

This piece was originally published in Issue 04 of the Quell Skateboarding zine, which can be purchased here.

The photos featured in this piece were all taken by the incredibly talented Norma Ibarra, a Mexican-Canadian photographer based in Vancouver, BC.