Donate Fun: How a little fun can transform lives!

Throughout our Donate Fun campaign we are highlighting the importance of fun for every day life and learning in line with the sustainable development goal of Quality Education. At Skateistan, our programs are designed to drive the curiosity of children and their eagerness to learn. Most of the children that attend our programs live in difficult circumstances in the world and many are from low income backgrounds, life is not always easy. They need access to fun opportunities more than anyone. Attending Skate School and being part of Skateistan each week gives them that essential time to have fun with their friends, smile, laugh, learn and feel free. Skateistan is fun and we know this because the children tell us so and because of the weekly photos of smiling students we see. Here we explain how we use fun in our programs, why it is important and how you can support it.

For many children, Skateistan is the only place where they are freely allowed to do what children are supposed to do — play, laugh and learn. At our Skate Schools and as part of our programs, children can take part in activities and experience things they might not have come across before in the world they live in. In Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa, the children that we work with face daily challenges, but through our programs, students develop life skills, personal relationships, self-confidence, independence and problem solving skills. All very important things for life, and what makes it all so great is the element of fun.

In Kabul, Mazar, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Johannesburg, children are learning, skating and having fun through Skateistan.

The Lego Foundation says “learning through play happens when an activity is joyful, involves active, engaged, minds-on thinking, helps children find meaning in what they are doing or learning, involves iterative thinking and involves social interaction”. All these things are incorporated into our programs; Outreach, Skate and Create, Back-to-School and Youth Leadership. From the very beginning Skateistan was able to engage with youth through skateboarding because it is accessible to all, satisfyingly challenging, a great equaliser, and last but not least, fun. In both the skatepark and the classroom, we have retained the element of fun in all our programs, to keep children and youth truly interested and engaged. Whilst they are having fun they are learning, and whilst they are learning they are having fun.

Fun is not just for fun, it’s seriously important for life.

When our students think of Skateistan, they often thing of fun, regardless if it’s time in the classroom or in the skatepark. Knowing that children learn best when they are interested, engaged, and driven by their own curiosity, our programs complement this.

“Skateistan can help me and other kids by providing fun things such as skateboarding and learning in the classroom.” — Youth Leader, Phnom Penh.

Skateboarding = Fun.

“I have a lot of fun at Skateistan and enjoy it a lot. I’ve been learning how to drop and push in the skatepark this year. I’ve fallen so many times but I just get up and try again.” — Skate and Create student, Johannesburg.

Whether it’s children trying skateboarding for the first time with us at an Outreach session or a Youth Leader who has been part of our programs for many years, you can see the excitement on our students’ faces when it’s time to skate. Apart from the fun element, skateboarding can be a vehicle to better mental health and well-being, including emotional benefits to a student’s life. There is no limit to what a skater can learn on a board and it is a lifelong process to progress in the sport. Through the nature of skateboarding, the skater continuously learns to set goals and conquer his or her personal fear. As a result, each success builds confidence, raises self-esteem, and improves decision-making skills. Skateboarding is a creative sport without many rules and boundaries. As Skateistan student’s establish their own unique goals and develop their skateboarding skills, they build the confidence they need to meet life’s challenges. For the age group we work with, 5–17 years, skateboarding is the ideal hook to link these children and youth to education.

Education = Fun.

“Starting each day with Skateistan is fun for me, and learning through fun is more effective in life.” — Skate and Create student, Kabul.

In the classroom, Skateistan draws from alternative education methods, such as Montessori and Steiner, in addition to state and public schooling methods. We us classroom spaces as learning labs where Educators are free to try out new ideas — they are creative, interactive and engaging spaces for both students and staff. Our students are encouraged to ask questions and be inquisitive especially in the Skate and Create program where the curriculum is taught through educational arts based lessons. Back-to-School students in Afghanistan are in the classroom 5 days a week for the accelerated learning program, but are rewarded with a fun skate session each week. Whilst the Back-to-School program in Johannesburg is aimed at giving older youth a space to do their homework and receive career guidance — they also have access to the skatepark between lessons as an incentive. Through participatory education, Skateistan aims to provide children and youth with resources to develop themselves and to build relationships with others.

Children have the incredible ability to constantly wonder and soak up their surrounding, beyond that of a grown up. Skateistan strives to create an atmosphere where children can engage with their environment, and learn through their own inquiry, with gentle guidance from an Educator. When an Educator’s role is to provide guidance, rather than serve as the primary source of information, children are driven to discover their own solutions, teaching them critical and creative thinking as well as promoting self-discovery and building confidence.

The combination of the classroom education and skateboarding lessons makes for an impactful combination for the development of children’s life skills. Through Skateistan, skateboarding and education is empowering 1,800 children and youth worldwide.

Empowerment = Fun.

“When I first saw Skate School I fell in love with it because I saw girls having fun with skateboards and with their friends.” Back-to-School student, Kabul.
“Skate School is a huge place full of fun and different things which I had never seen before, like skateboarding. I really love this place!” — Back-to-School student, Mazar.
“We bring skateboarding to them for fun and give poor kids the chance to learn even if they can’t go to public school. They learn through creativity and skateboarding!” — Ra, Educator, Phnom Penh.
“I enjoyed being with my friends in the skatepark and in the classroom. I had a lot of fun!” — Skate and Create student, Johannesburg.
“Skateistan can help me and other kids by providing fun things such as skateboarding and learning in the classroom.” Youth Leader, Phnom Penh.

A little fun can transform the lives of children in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa,. Donate from the 1–21st June and help us raise $50,000 to support our skateboarding and education programs worldwide.

#DonateFun at skateistan.org/donate.

skateistan.org/donate.