To say that skateboarding will put an end to a 20 year long civil conflict would be naive, but the principals exercised by the Uganda Skateboard Union have, and will continue to change lives for the better. In a region where international non-profits and NGO’s providing aid are often viewed with skepticism, or viewed as parental, these youth have created their own social epicenter where their positivity and creativity is infectious.

A Plea For Funds to Help Ugandan Youth

Last spring Cassi Gibson showed me photos from her most recent trip to Uganda where she visited East Africa’s only skatepark a brilliant hand-crafted concrete setup that started in 2005 as Jackson Mubiru’s vision. Jackson wanted to build a place for kids to congregate, compete, feel empowered, and build together. What is so touching about the 50 or so kids that skate the park is the way they smile, create, and express themselves considering only 6 years ago the south of the country was enveloped in civil conflict (the north still remains in conflict.) In June 2009 Cassi & her sister, Nicki, went back to Kampala and brought with them over 200lbs of donated brand new skate gear our friends collected from Sky High Skateshop and NYC area stores, we called the project “Skate & Solidarity.”

Jackson hopes to expand the park and build an adjacent school for the kids (there is no pubic school for youth over the age of 12 in Uganda) Without any shops in the region the Kampala skaters rely solely on donations like these. Cassi & Nicki’s summer trip was a complete success, so much so that we decided to take a second collection of donations over again in December.  Please share this message on your blogs & repost it to your networks. A purchase of one of the shirts at the link above will directly benefit the Uganda Skateboard Union.

Thank you always for your help,
Andy Stepanian

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