Skateboarding in Cambodia? YES
SKATEBOARDING IN CAMBODIA
Skateboarding in Siem Reap Cambodia at the Sok San Street Festival, January 2014.
Full 8 minute documentary here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7REcbB…
If you want to get away from all the clichéd Siem Reap bars and are looking for somewhere completely different from any other place in town – or even in Cambodia for that matter – just look up for the massive X and follow the sound of rock…
In its quirky and eccentric way, the X Bar mixes its unique music and ambience twenty meters above the city to offer what you really need after taking in the temples and traditional culture – a place to just kick back and let it all go…
Pop in to find yourself face to face with a herd of skateboarders riding the unique 6ft rooftop half-pipe… Just come on up, step in to the X Bar and prepare to be amazed!
For more information visit:
SKATEISTAN CAMBODIA (Phnom Penh)
IN THE BEGINNING…
“I didn’t know that skateboarding would become an amazing tool to help and motivate kids in Cambodia.”
Skateistan Cambodia was a natural response to the energy and enthusiasm of a small group of Cambodian youth who experienced skateboarding for the first time by chance in 2011. Operations Manager Benjamin Pecqueur was working as the Marketing Manager for the youth NGO Pour un Sourire D’Enfant (PSE) at the time, and had his sister send his old skateboard from France to Phnom Penh by post.
“When I received my deck I was super excited to use it again so I just started skating in front of my office. In 10 minutes, 20 students were around me and asked to try. All the kids were super excited to try this new thing, and each time one of them got on the board another started laughing. The NGO’s director walked over to see what was happening. He was surprised to see so much interest from the students and asked me to start a skateboarding activity at PSE – it’s what I did! At this time I didn’t know that skateboarding would become an amazing tool to help and motivate kids in Cambodia.”
– Benjamin Pecqueur, Skateistan Cambodia Founder and Operations Manager
Shortly after this, PSE provided a space to build a small skate park to add to their sports and recreation program. This would be the first skate park in Cambodia, so Benjamin began seeking support to build the ramps.
Benjamin was told about a project called Skateistan, which was teaching marginalized youth in Kabul, Afghanistan. With his years of experience working for NGOs in Cambodia (in prevention theatre, organizing the first Carnival in the country, and working with PSE) Benjamin reached out to Skateistan’s founder and Executive Director Oliver Percovich for some project direction and support for a skateboarding-based youth outreach project in Cambodia.
Skateistan agreed to contribute partial funding for the ramps at PSE and facilitate donations of skateboarding equipment. Within a few months, Skateistan Cambodia was Skateistan’s second project, after the NGO’s initial success in Afghanistan, with Benjamin committing full-time to the project.
“Youth are drawn to the newness of the sport in Cambodia – they can make it their own and this inspires their imaginations about what they can do with it,” says Benjamin, also listing skateboarding’s natural connection with arts as a benefit for engaging with youth.
With the support of Skateistan, PSE and the Cambodian National Olympic Committee, Skateistan Cambodia rapidly developed its educational and recreational programs for Khmer youth, focusing on engaging girls and other vulnerable groups. After a year and a half of street outreach activities and sessions at the PSE skate park, taught by Khmer and foreign volunteers, Skateistan Cambodia opened its own facility in September 2012 in a quiet neighbourhood near the Russian Market.
Skateistan Cambodia works in partnership with local NGOs such as PSE, Friends International and the Cambodian Women’s Development Agency to bring skateboarding, arts and leadership opportunities to girls and boys of all backgrounds and abilities in the nation’s capital, Phnom Penh. Currently, with a total staff of nine, Skateistan Cambodia works with 150 – 200 youth each week. Today the organization’s main focus is on building the skills of local staff, training youth leaders, and expanding its reach to engage more of the most vulnerable youth in the city with community supports and recreation opportunities.
With the ongoing support of the Cambodian National Olympic Committee, and a partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Skateistan Cambodia is uniquely positioned to help make skateboarding more accessible throughout Cambodia. Plans are underway to involve Skateistan students in designing the Kingdom’s first public skatepark, in time for Go Skateboarding Day in June of 2014.
Skateistan Cambodia is supported financially by Skateistan’s international body, with the goal of creating a relationship with a core operations funder by the end of 2013. [Please contact Skateistan Development Director Rhianon Bader at firstname.lastname@example.org inquire about funding possibilities.]
- The Cambodian Women’s Development Agency
- Damnok Toek
- Friends International
- Pour un Sourire D’Enfant
- Tiny Toones
- Transitions Global
For more information on this awesome project, visit http://kh.skateistan.org/