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Skateistan South Africa Update: Laying the Foundations for a Skate School

The’s a lot going on the skate world from talks of Olympics and the coming event schedule to new hot products and how best to film skaters using them. A new trend I’m seeing are the number of Go Fund Me requests for some pretty opportunistic and sometimes silly things, I think. I’m don’t mean to hate, but there are some really great projects out there that don’t just involve getting some new gear for people you know. Amongst it all, there are some ways that skateboarding is being used for good for those that might be less fortunate and not just first world fun.These qualified do gooders could use your help. Skateistan in particular has been doing amazing things with skateboarding for years. Their mission, to use skateboarding as a tool for empowering youth, to create new opportunities and the potential for change. I often check their blog and follow their work. I found one of their latest projects I wanted to share with everyone and encourage you to check out Skateistan, donate if you can and follow along.

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Skateistan South Africa Update: Laying the Foundations for a Skate School

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Birds eye view of new Skate School site in the artistic Maboneng neighborhood, Joburg. – Skatistan Photo

Last month, an empty space between two buildings in the Maboneng area of Johannesburg became a construction site, as builders started laying the foundations for Skateistan South Africa’s first Skate School! It’s been almost 2 years since we began activities in South Africa, partnering with local organizations and running Outreach sessions, with the aim of providing safe spaces for kids to learn and play through our programs such as Skate and Create. In 2014, we cleaned up the Troyeville bowl (on the border of central Johannesburg) with the help of the local kids and gave it a fresh lick of paint and we have been successfully running Outreach sessions at it ever since.

Whilst we continue to run sessions at the bowl, plus our programs with, a new partner organization, Streetlight Schools, things are starting to take shape over at the, soon to be, Skate School…

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Skate and Create students getting in animal character as they try out the masks they made at a Skate and Create session. – Skateistan Photo

WHAT IS A SKATE SCHOOL?

Our Skate Schools are a place where kids have the right to express themselves, play and learn with one another, knowing they are welcomed and encouraged to do so. They consist of a skatepark (either indoor, outdoor or both), alongside classroom or study areas from which we run our programs such as Skate and Create. It matters for kids to have safe places like this to play in, especially for those living in difficult circumstances. In South Africa, the streets aren’t a safe place for children but at our Skate Schools and Outreach sessions we are able to provide this much-needed safe space. Our new Skate School in Johannesburg will consist of shipping container classrooms and study areas, as well as a 500 square meter skatepark and outdoor educational space, not only a safe space but a fun and encouraging environment!

FIRST UP THE CLASSROOMS

The four-story building for the Skate School is being constructed out of shipping containers thanks to Big Box. The past few weeks, they have been laying the foundations and pouring the concrete which will be the base for the building. When it’s up and running, these will be used for the educational hour of our Skate and Create program and for Drop-In sessions, which provide after-school homework help and career advice for youth in the area.
Thanks to our partners; The Tony Hawk FoundationThe Skateroom, Propertuity and The Royal Danish Embassy, the building of this Skate School has been made possible. Most recently, Saint-Gobain has also come on as a sponsor, to provide the highest quality walls and ceilings in our classrooms. This donation means we can invest more into our programs for the kids!

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The sign on the fences at the site, informing everyone how to benefit from our programs. – Skateistan Photo

Check out the first video update from Operations Director, Brandon and Operations Manager, Chris, giving an update from the site:

WHAT NEXT?

Foundations and concrete down, it’s almost time for the shipping containers to make their way to the site in time for Classroom Educators, Wendy and Enos to check out their new workplace. Then, specialists, New Line Skateparks will be heading from Vancouver to Johannesburg to help build the concrete skatepark over the next few weeks – they are currently fundraising for the trip through Crowdrise, help out here. 

Follow Skateistan on Facebook or sign up to their newsletter for the latest updates from Skate School and Outreach sessions in South Africa.

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