Through skateboarding, young people are able to have fun and engage positively with each other. Skateboarding provides a valuable outlet for creative expression and physical activity for children of all backgrounds and ages.

As identified by the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace, sport is a valuable tool for:

  • fostering self-esteem and empowerment
  • facilitating social support and inclusion
  • providing opportunities for leadership and achievement

Skateistan Cambodia runs daily skateboarding lessons, including girls’ sessions and classes for disabled youth, with lessons taught by former students and peer volunteers. Skateboarding lessons are paired with 1 hour arts-based educational workshops to further build on the confidence and friendships realized in the skatepark.

The novelty of skateboarding in both Afghanistan and Cambodia makes it very successful at engaging with youth of all backgrounds. It appeals particularly to girls, who are often socially excluded from participating in traditional sports like football or volleyball.

Skateistan Cambodia uses skateboarding as a tool or “hook” to engage youth in the more comprehensive health, education, and counseling services provided by other best practices NGOs in Cambodia. You can read more about this and our partnerships here.

'Wheels to Grow' - Quiksilver's visit to Skateistan Cambodia

In early December, Javier Mendizabal and the Quiksilver by Vuerich B Project team travelled to Phnom Penh to meet the Skateistan team and their students. This marked the beginning of an exciting new collaboration to release a range of sunglasses made out of recycled skateboard decks to help support Skateistan. Each handcrafted pair of sunglasses is outfitted with top of the line Carl Zeiss lenses, and some of the skate decks were previously used at Skateistan Cambodia.

Kep Skate Jam 2013

Srey Pich doesn't mess around.

Last weekend Skateistan Cambodia packed up 11 girls and 7 boys, all our staff, plus a whole car full of speakers, luggage, DJ equipment, and enough boards and gear for everyone and made the trek down to the coastal town of Kep to skate a now-infamous bowl in the middle of the Cambodian Jungle.

This was the second of what we hope to be annual Skateistan competitions at Jasmine Valley Eco Resort, and we were blown away by the amount that everyone has progressed since this time last year.

Why Sport Matters for Girls

Tin shows some new students how to push for the first time.

In our most recent newsletter, we featured an interview with Skateistan Cambodia staff member Kov Chansangva (Tin). Tin has been working with Skateistan Cambodia for ten months, and has quickly become an invaluable member of the Skateistan team. Her passion for skateboarding, dance, music, and teaching combined with her can-do attitude and energy make her a fantastic female role model for all the students at Skateistan Cambodia. To our knowledge, Tin was the first Cambodian woman ever to land a kickflip.

While there are numerous barriers to female participation in sport around the world, Tin represents a growing population of female athletes in Cambodia.

International Women's Day at Skateistan Cambodia

"The people that think of skateboarding as a sport only for boys are wrong. I think the word sport means that girls and boys can play together." -Tin, 20, Skateistan Cambodia Teacher and Youth Leader

Skateistan Cambodia celebrated International Women’s Day this March with 70 youth. Around 55 girls and 15 boys attended the event, which focused on female participation in sports, and provided an opportunity for the small but growing number of girls who skate in Phnom Penh to meet one another to make art, relax, play games and show off their talent at skateboarding.

Khmarnaval in Sihanoukville

Cambodian youth skate down the street in Sihanoukville during the sixth annual 'Khmarnaval' parade.

This was the second year Skateistan Cambodia participated in “Khmarnaval”, an arts and music festival inspired by the Latin tradition of Carnaval, founded in Sihanoukville six years ago. In March Skateistan brought 12 Khmer youth on a three day journey to the seaside town of Sihanoukville (also known as Kampong Saom), to join a parade and cultural festival, shred the streets, and swim in the ocean. All firsts for many of  these kids.