Skateistan works with disadvantaged children ages five to 17 in the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The skateboarding and creative education programmes are available free of charge and open to youth from all backgrounds, including different economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds to encourage respect, empathy and social cohesion.
Children join Skateistan’s programmes through outreach and community engagement activities, including skateboarding activities in identified areas of need, community events, community surveys and needs assessments, and forming strong partnerships with local organisations and schools to work with some of the hardest to reach youth in the city.
Problem to be tackled
Although Cambodia has been stable and peaceful for 30 years, the legacy of the Khmer Rouge regime and Vietnamese occupation still has social and economic implications – it is still considered as one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries. Cambodia is also a young country; about 31% of the population are under 15 years old. Youth in Cambodia face numerous challenges, including limited access to quality education, exploitation through child labour, sexual exploitation and human trafficking and the illegal drug industry, domestic violence; they also face discrimination based on gender and disabilities.
Skateistan Cambodia is founded on the belief that skateboarding, like education, is a great equalizer. Knowing that children learn best when they are engaged and having fun, the programmes are designed to drive the curiosity of children and build on their eagerness to learn.
Outreach sessions: Outside of the Skate Schools, Outreach brings Skateistan’s Educators to children with limited resources. They introduce new communities to skateboarding through creative activities and develop partnerships to connect young people and their families with important social services. Children are invited to register and join other weekly programmes.
Children with disabilities: about 20% of Skateistan’s students have a disability, such as deafness, vision impairment or another physical or cognitive disability. Skateistan recognises the extraordinary capacity of children with disability to succeed in sport and their need to be included in the community. Educators and students work together to approach skateboarding and classroom activities in new ways, which accommodate all abilities.
Skateistan supports children from the ages five to 17 in Phnom Penh. 85% of these are from low-income family backgrounds, 50:50 gender ratio, 100% urban, 10% are out of school and 20% of these are children living with a disability.
With the support from The SOL Foundation, Skateistan will be able to implement their programmes for disabled students as well as their outreach programme in Cambodia.
Skateistan is the first international development organisation to empower youth through education and skateboarding.
Founded in 2008 on the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, Skateistan actually works in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Through the hook of skateboarding, their award-winning programmes provide opportunities to children ages five to 17, especially girls, children from low-income backgrounds or children living with disabilities and children from more than 20 nationalities and ethnicities, providing creative arts-based education and valuable life skills that go beyond the skate park and classroom.