The girls in their gear
CWDA has been collaborating with Skateistan Cambodia since 2012. Skateistan’s mission is to use skateboarding as a tool for empowerment, to create new opportunities and the potential for change for vulnerable youth. As it’s second project after its monumental success in Afghanistan, Skateistan is now impacting the lives of many youths, including our girls, here in Cambodia.
Every Thursday without fail the girls attend a two hour session at the skateboarding park in Phnom Penh. Getting in the tuktuk on the dot of 1.30pm in order to arrive in plenty of time, they jitter with excitement. Arriving at the park, it is easy to understand why.
The sense of community and empowerment felt when walking into the skateboarding park is overwhelming. Skateboarding has become an outlet for creative expression for the girls; they have so much fun showing off their skills on the different ramps and learning new tricks – and they are very good! The girls are well and affectionately known here by the instructors and other students, having been some of the first students of Skateistan Cambodia.
Watching them, it is clear how much they cherish the opportunity each week. Not only does having such an unique hobby increase self-confidence, it develops trust, friendship and valuable life skills such as leadership and teamwork.
Soryah*, one of the older girls, says that skateboarding gives her the opportunity to “escape” and to relieve her stress through exercise. Meymey* loves going each week to meet up with her friends and always has so much fun.
Sokcchoeun, the safe shelter house mother, told me how proud she is of the girls, and that whenever there are competitions people remark on how they skateboard just as well as the boys!
Donations continue make this weekly opportunity possible for the girls, covering the costs of transportation each week and to skateboarding events, as well as appropriate clothing for their hobby.
Everyone at CWDA want to sincerely thank you for your continuing support.
*Not their real names