Congratulations to Skateistan Cambodia which uses skateboarding and creative arts to change the lives of disabled Cambodian youth

Picture by Joshua White for Skateistan

Picture by Joshua White for Skateistan

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Disabled Cambodian youth face significant social stigma, preventing them from participating in leisure activities and from accessing basic education and other public services.  Skateistan Cambodia seeks to combat this issue through the sport of skateboarding and an innovative educational curriculum.

The recent Khmer Rouge conflict has contributed to notable economic and political issues, including one of the highest concentrations of landmines in the world.  Landmines continue to victimize children despite widespread de-mining efforts; Over 40,000 Cambodians have lost limbs to landmines since the 1980s.

Cambodia struggles in virtually all socio-economic areas, the effects of which are amplified for children with a mental or physical disability. These children often live segregated from the rest of society and in abject poverty.

Skateistan Cambodia’s “Skate – Educate – Integrate” (SEI) program will work with 25-30 disabled youth per week. This program offers regular, structured weekly skateboarding instruction alongside an educational arts-based curriculum to youth with physical or cognitive disabilities. In the skate park, children of all backgrounds find a valuable platform for self-expression, creativity, goal setting and personal development. In the classroom, students use fine arts and multimedia to explore geography, world cultures, history, human rights, environmental studies, hygiene, storytelling and more. Lessons focus on giving youth tools to express themselves, think critically and solve problems in their local and global communities. Special community events and international multimedia and art exchanges with peers around the globe expand the students’ personal worlds.  Accessible to all levels of literacy and education, classes provide a forum for youth to develop friendships that overcome deep social barriers.

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