The Children’s Home of Education in Sambat village is a small English school in a rural village just outside of Siem Reap. The school began just 4 years ago and attendance has grown much faster than they have the resources to provide for. There is a computer lab with no computers and a library with no books. There are currently over 100 eager students but there are not enough tables and chairs for everyone to participate. The school is in desperate need of the most basic of supplies such as pencils and paper and adequate lighting in the classrooms. This link takes you to a crowdfunding page created by a recent volunteer and all proceeds of the campaign will go directly to purchasing new supplies. You can follow the school on Facebook for pictures of the children and more.
“Working with vulnerable children, youth, their families, and their communities”
M’Lop Tapang is a fantastic program located in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. As a popular beach town, it attracts economic migrants from the poorer, rural provinces who are seeking employment and better living conditions. Sadly, without adequate skills or education, many who move here find only more hardship. The result has been the expansion of slums and an increased numbers of vulnerable children, youth and their families. These children and youth are at increased risk of health problems, drug use, social isolation and discrimination, abuse, and lack of education. We visited the school in our effort to track down another local organisation to donate my skateboard and we were blown away by the impressive work they are doing in Sihanoukville. The organization has received several awards alongside recognition from at home and abroad for their efforts to improve the lives of vulnerable families.
“Empowering children and youth through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa”
Skateistan is a great organization that I found out about several years back. As a lifelong skater myself, it makes perfect sense to me that skateboarding could be used as a tool for community outreach. It gives children something to look forward to and something to feel unique about. It also gives them a wholesome activity that is a better influence then some of the alternatives. The organization has received many awards and international recognition as a great non-profit. They are completely transparent about their financials and disclosing the breakdown of where donations go. After traveling in SE Asia with my skateboard for several months, I happily handed it off to the Skateistan foundation in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
“Building strong communities on the Cambodian islands.”
The small island of Koh Rong is a popular spot along the backpacker circuit in Cambodia and southeast Asia. With a population of just over 1,000 permanent residents, the community is trying hard to adapt to the influx of tourism and use it as an opportunity to improve their lives. Friends of Koh Rong participates in community outreach through english classes and business lessons. They also sponsor local children and families with varying hardships. They accept volunteers from all over the world who assist in their programs but donations are every bit as helpful. I personally have visited the island of Koh Rong and have seen the work that they do. The local children walk the beach with their parents selling mangos and such and they love to practice their English and talk to the backpackers.
“The Tony Hawk Foundation seeks to foster lasting improvements in society, with an emphasis on supporting and empowering youth. Through special events, grants, and technical assistance, the Foundation supports recreational programs with a focus on the creation of public skateboard parks in low-income communities. The Foundation favors programs that clearly demonstrate that funds received will produce tangible, ongoing, positive results.”
When I was growing up in a small town in Mena, Arkansas I was one of only a few kids who skateboarded. We enjoyed skating around our small town, but being in the country there weren’t many places we could skate. We were only kids about 12 to 14 but we were constantly having the police called on us and getting kicked out of what few spots we had. One day as a result of a town hall meeting, skateboarding as a whole became banned within my town. The signs started to show up in every parking lot and spot we used to love. People were fed up with the noise we made and didn’t want to be liable if we got hurt on their property. The negative stigma of skateboarding was present too and people thought we were punks and hoodrats. Being in the middle of nowhere, we didn’t have anywhere else to skate though. We started a petition to get a local public skatepark built in our town. We collected signatures from everyone we could and the support was overwhelming. When we thought we had enough signatures we turned them in to city hall along with an application and letter for the Tony Hawk Foundation that plead our case. I moved out of that town shortly after, but a few years later I was delighted to be sent a newspaper clipping with the title Mena’s First Skatepark and an accompanying article that said it was funded by the Tony Hawk Foundation.