Since 2008, Skateistan has provided opportunities for youth leadership through volunteer teaching positions and alternative employment to mostly streetworking youth in Kabul, Afghanistan. As one of Skateistan’s key values, building leadership opportunities for youth has also been implemented in Cambodia and is a crucial to establishing long term success and a sense of ownership for our students.
Over 60 girls and boys between the ages of 12-21 have either worked or volunteered with Skateistan internationally as Youth Leaders, assisting in skate sessions or class lessons, helping to plan and manage events, maintaining the skateparks, and taking part in special sports, arts, and multimedia workshops.
Since Skateistan first began working with youth in Phnom Penh in 2011, several young people have progressed from being students to teachers in the skatepark and classrooms. Our Programs Assistant Tin has shown herself to be an especially talented skateboarder and an excellent role model. As Skateistan Cambodia’s first female skate instructor, Tin uses her skateboarding and creative arts skills, as well as various elements of hip-hop culture, such as turntables and breakdancing, to help other girls gain new skills and improve their self confidence.
Providing leadership and development opportunities for young women in Cambodia is particularly important. Nearly the same numbers of boys and girls attend school until the age of 14 in Cambodia, but after girls reach this age fewer continue to higher education. Adult literacy rates also reflect inequality for Cambodian women, where only 70.9 percent of adult women are literate compared to 85.1 percent of men. This discrepancy results in Cambodian women being more vulnerable to poverty and discrimination.