36%* of Cambodian youth aged 5-14 are engaged in child labour and street involvement makes them vulnerable to the influence of drugs, trafficking and sex work.
Skateistan aims to connect with street-involved children who come from very low-income families in some of Cambodia’s most at-risk communities. During regular outreach sessions, Skateistan and its Cambodian partner organization Friends-International work together to provide social support networks and a physical outlet (skateboarding), which is proven to increase self-esteem.
Without a stable home and place in society, many Cambodian youths are forced to spend their days on the city streets begging for money or turning to crime to support their families instead of attending school. By using skateboarding as a tool for engagement, Skateistan is able to provide better opportunities for the future of street working children.
The sessions have recently been taking place in front of Buddhist temples Wat Thmei and Wat Steung Meanchey in the heart of Phnom Penh city. Skateistan Cambodia’s street outreach program is set in a public area, aiming to reach students in their own environment. This way, the word is easily spread as children see others learning, skating and having fun.
The monks themselves are very pleased to have kids skating in front of their religious temples. One of the monks from Wat Thmei told us, "This pagoda used to be so quiet. Now it is always full of laughing children, and we feel so happy."
Skateistan Cambodia’s Education Coordinator and Youth Leader, Tin, helps a student with her balance
Girls having fun skating the steps
Monks watch kids skate in front of the pagoda