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The Impact Skateboarding Has Made In Kenya For the Youth

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The Impact Skateboarding Has Made In Kenya For the Youth

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The Impact Skateboarding Has Made In Kenya For the Youth
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The Impact Skateboarding Has Made In Kenya For the Youth
Written by Leo Kilel
Courtesy of Africa Skateboarding International Magazine
Kenya is a country made up of 42 different tribes; there has been a history of tribal conflicts among the different tribes which has resulted in the loss of lives because of fighting between the tribes. Our politics over the years have been built on tribal groupings which have affected many aspects of our country. Most people would vote into government a politician from their tribe so in turn when he succeeds into office they would be guaranteed jobs and other benefits, this has led the various tribes to treat each other with suspicion and hidden hate. When we formed the S.S.K we had no intention of tackling this huge social issue we just wanted to skate and enjoy the fun we get from it, but as we’ve progressed we have realized that through our skateboarding this hatred between the tribes has been greatly reversed because our members are from very different tribal backgrounds yet while we session together we have managed to create deep and real friendships among ourselves, this has created a unity among us the youth who skateboard and as our number continues to grow we are transforming a generation for the good of our country and creating a more united country for future generations in Kenya

The rate of unemployment has been very great in our country as a result this has pushed many young people to engage in crime and antisocial behavior. As a society we organize various contests and though we have not gotten major sponsorship at our contest still our members are willing to compete and win some little price money or just for the fun. With time maybe the sponsorship will grow greater but that’s not our main motivation. Many of our riders observe the international skate scene on the internet which has taught them that they can get a career out of it, thus skateboarding has given them a new hope in life.

Parents of our members have embraced skateboarding saying that it has helped their children engage in a meaningful pass time and saved some of them from the rampant drug abuse other young people are engaged in around the country but especially in the city. The parents say they feel a sense of security when their children attend our sessions on weekends instead of following other young people in criminal gangs.
Our members say that skateboarding has given them a new family where they are accepted, appreciated and allowed to express themselves unconditionally. It has given them a sense of belonging. Generally they have become happier young people and boredom to them is a thing of the past before they knew the joy of skateboarding. Our country has gained a new, positive and healthy activity. We intend to increase campaigns to raise awareness of skateboarding around the country but for now financial challenges have hindered us so we have concentrated our efforts via the internet by posting content of our videos on social sites that very many young people are addicted to. This has helped increase our number and shed light on the myth in Kenya that what they observe on TV being done by skateboarders in Europe and America is not some magnetic effect put on the feet and board nor is it the work of strings as many believe. The problem however of the internet campaigns is that it only reaches to young people living in the cities neglecting millions of young people in Kenya living in the rural areas who are sometimes forced out of school because poverty or being made to labor at home robbing some of them the precious memories of childhood they could have had.
We hope that when we will have the capacity to reach out to these kids we will help reverse this by building skate parks around the country where they can have a place to enjoy their childhood despite the problems that they face. I got a chance to enjoy my childhood and so I believe all children especially those in rural areas have this right too. Our journey as the S.S.K is long and tough but as we keep skating we know somehow we will achieve our objectives to help Africa become a better place for the coming future generations.

WRITTEN BY LEO KILEL

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