Budding skaters can put their skills to the test while raising valuable funds for non-profit organisation Skateistan, which provides skateboarding and arts-based programmes for underprivileged kids living in Cambodia, South Africa and Jordan.
On April 6, - the United Nations’ International Day of Sport for Development and Peace - the organisation launched ‘Play for Skateistan’, a unique gamer-focused fundraising drive. The campaign was launched with the help of global skateboard streaming champions, JL_Nightmare and Milky, alongside pro-skaters Nyimas Bunga Cinta and Walker Ryan.
Together with the online skateboard gaming modding community, three playable characters have been developed based on real Skateistan students and their backstories, including Arun from Phnom Penh.
Gamers can equip the characters with unique skateboard deck designs portraying messages of empowerment. Additionally, playable replicas of their hometown skate parks are available for download, including Skateistan’s park at The Factory Phnom Penh. Starting with Skater XL, mods for the games Session and True Skate will follow suit.
“Skateistan is all about the empowerment and education of young people. Just as our students show us how to make our programmes better, the next generation can show us how to tell the story of Skateistan and its impact in more exciting and interactive ways. This project does just this, engaging a new, young audience with Skateistan and its students, in new virtual realities. This is a game-changer for the social skate sector,” said Oisin Tammas, Head of Communications at Skateistan.
Global conflicts and crises are excluding a generation from safe spaces, positive role models and sports, with girls especially affected. This is where Skateistan aims to plug the gap, however, unsafe conditions make it harder for the NGO to operate.
Skateistan is in need of support to keep providing programmes and safe spaces for these kids to thrive. And that is why Skateistan has decided to bring the kids into a globally accessible space – the gaming world.
The mods are made available to the gaming community on playforskateistan.com, where gamers can download to play and donate to Skateistan. This means that the more people who skate with the students’ characters in-game, the more these children can skate in reality due to the donations raised.
However, the campaign also aims to foster a sense of community among at-risk children worldwide, including those outside of Skateistan's operating countries, by helping them to feel represented and making them part of the global skateboarding community.