Ethiopian Youth Build Community Through Skateboarding

A sixteen-year old teaches skateboarding to low-income youth as a viable means of transportation and for community building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

May 31, 2014, 11:00 AM PDT

By Helen Brown


Skateboarders

Derek Bridges / Flickr

Skateboarding has not been recognized as a legitimate mode of transportation outside of a handful of cities such as Portland, Oregon. Per EMBARQ's post on Sustainability Cities Collective, however, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a 16-years-young Abenezer Temesgen is challenging the cultural bias against skateboarding by teaching it as a primary mode of transportation.

EMBARQ summarizes Temesgen's vision for his organization Ethiopia Skate: "For low-income children who cannot afford bicycles, yet still need to access education and job opportunities, skating can get them to where they need to be just a little faster. Added to this, skating demands practice, it demands a community to learn from, and it promotes a healthy, active lifestyle."

Taxis are the main mode of transportation in Addis Ababa, where rapid growth has occurred with little regard for public space. In such a place, Ethiopia Skate's mission to teach skateboarding, and its campaign to build a skate park, could bring affordable mobility to youth while providing much needed gathering places. 

Friday, May 30, 2014 in Sustainable Cities Collective

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