September 02, 2015 10:31 UTC

Home

Cambodians Get Lessons in Skateboarding, Life

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

A group is using the sport of skateboarding to help at-risk children in CambodiaA group is using the sport of skateboarding to help at-risk children in Cambodia
x
A group is using the sport of skateboarding to help at-risk children in Cambodia
A group is using the sport of skateboarding to help at-risk children in Cambodia

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

(SOUND)

Some young Cambodians are learning a new sport -- skateboarding. The country's first skateboard park is located on the grounds of a local charity group at the edge of Phnom Penh, the capital.

Fifteen-year-old Chea Sophanit has been skating for about six months. "When I see the different styles from skateboarding, especially from the best skaters, I just want to be like them," he says.

Sports like Khmer boxing and soccer are wildly popular in Cambodia. But Chea says skating has already become his favorite sport.

The skaters are learning tricks like launching off a jump or half-pipe and flying through the air on their narrow wooden boards.

A nongovernmental organization called Skateistan Cambodia organizes weekly programs at the park. Skateistan started its work in Afghanistan. Rory Burke works with the group which expanded to Cambodia last year.

RORY BURKE: "Yeah, it's definitely not a typical Cambodian pastime. And I think the idea of 'why skateboarding' is that it's not been done before here. We want to use skateboarding as something saying, 'Hey this is new, this is something different.' And that kind of itself becomes a little bit of hook. People see it and they think and they say, ‘Whoa, what is that?’ and they want to get involved."

Skateistan partners with local groups that work with young people. The park is on the grounds of the group known as PSE, where children attend school and learn a trade. There are almost one hundred twenty participants. Many come from troubled lives.
Sean Burke says for some, skateboarding is a chance just to be a kid for a couple of hours a week. He says he hopes the program will help them build life skills through sport.

Seventeen-year-old Sang Rotha is a student at PSE. "Sometimes I don't do well on topics like math," he says. "I feel bad when I find it hard to keep up with my lessons. So that's why I skateboard, to improve my bad feelings."

He says he began skateboarding more than a year ago. Before he started training, it seemed very easy. But it was very difficult to learn tricks, and he got hurt a lot from falling off.

Rory Burke says learning to deal with the difficulties is part of the lesson for these young skateboarders.

RORY BURKE: "You know, it’s pretty daunting to get on a skateboard for the first time. And then when they drop in for the first time and ride some of the ramps, it's pretty scary. It kind of teaches them, 'Hey, you’re going to fall down a bunch, but you’ve got to get back up.'"

Skateistan Cambodia plans to open the country’s first public skate park later this year in Phnom Penh.

And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, online at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Fritzi Bodenheimer. 
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: miki from: Japan
07/16/2012 1:09 AM
We can't learn all with just sitting and writing down on class. We have less active chance on Japanese classes. I guess almost all classes are passive. Don't be afraid of injuring or getting injure too much. We may be able to learn something important from using not only our brains but bodies.


by: rena
07/08/2012 1:52 PM
It is very good to play sports. I like sports. But I am not good at sports. I think it difficult to skateboard. I played Kyudo for three years. I can learn a lot of thing from Kyudo. So, sports give us many special things.


by: Chizimi from: Japan
07/07/2012 5:32 AM
I agree with this article that he says he hopes the program will help them build life skills through sport. I have been playing badminton since I was ten years old. I gained spiritual power through sport. It is important for people to do sport.


by: Jean
07/06/2012 8:33 PM
Skateboarding is really daunting. It is one of the sports I will never try especially I'm not young anymore. Hahaha! It might take me months to recover from falling off. I think it's scaring for parents too that their kids say they want to learn skateboarding.


by: Ashkan from: Iran
07/05/2012 6:25 PM
Putting this sport article in Education Report section is interesting for me. Trying to learn skills of life (specially hope and hard trying) from sport is so interesting.
In Tehran (the capital), young people skates a lot but playing street basketball and soccer in more popular than this


by: Kouman from: Ivory Coast
07/05/2012 4:37 PM
It'll be great to have such a program here in our country. That's what we need, we African children


by: Kyoka from: Japan
07/05/2012 11:08 AM
I think sports have a special power. For example, if I play sports, I can get vigor. When I read this article, I was convinced that sports have a special power. So, I want many people to play sports. And, I want to tell about importance of sports my friends, my parents. I think that I want to take up tennis.

In Response

by: alex from: VN
07/09/2012 2:58 PM
this sport is so interesting but maybe i never play it because in my country it is really not popular and i have no condition to play it

Learn with The News

  • Audio Obama Hikes Melting Glacier to Highlight Climate Change

    President Obama is touring Alaska to send the message that quick action is needed to combat climate change. Those who do not believe in climate change are standing on a "shrinking island," he said. Mr. Obama asked the world to respond quickly to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. More

  • Audio UN: Temple Destruction Is a 'Crime Against Civilization'

    A United Nations official says Islamic State militants have destroyed the Temple of Bel in the historic Syrian city of Palmyra. The head of the U.N.’s cultural agency is calling the destruction, an “intolerable crime against civilization.” More

  • Video Iran Seeking Foreign Visitors and Their Money

    The agreement between Iran and six world powers will ease financial restrictions on the Middle Eastern nation. Iranians hope that the end of travel restrictions will lead to more foreigners visiting the country. In London, travel agents say some people are already asking about how they can visit. More

  • Audio China's Manufacturing Slowdown Worries Investors

    Also, Europe struggles to deal with a migrant wave; President Obama urges action on climate change; Thai officials arrest a bombing suspect; and protests in Lebanon increase. More

  • Audio US Preparing Sanctions Against China

    The United States is preparing to act against Chinese who steal trade secrets using the Internet. The actions could freeze accounts and block the transfer of money. They would target thieves who use the Internet to steal U.S. trade secrets. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Are You Too Smart for Your Own Good?

    If you think being smart is always a good thing, think again. Smart has many meanings. Read on to find out what they are and the surprising origin of the term Smart Aleck. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: Fun with Future Tenses

    English has several ways to talk about the future. It's one of the most flexible tenses in English. We visit some popular songs for examples of the future forms. Read and listen as the Everyday Grammar team shows you six ways to express an event in the future. You will not regret it! More

  • Video A Horseman in the Sky by Ambrose Bierce

    Carter Druse lived in Virginia, a southern state during the American Civil War. He had a tough decision to make - should he join the Confederate Army or the Union Army? Read this classic American Story to find out what decision he makes, and what it means to his father and fellow soldiers. More

  • Audio Betty Azar, 'Rock Star' of English Grammar

    It all started with a question from a student. The year was 1965. Betty Azar was teaching her first English as a Second Language class at the University of Iowa. A student from the Middle East asked Ms. Azar, “Why can’t I put a in front of water?’ As in ‘I drank a water.’” More

  • Audio Millions with Mental Illness Get Little or No Treatment

    The World Health Organization reports that hundreds of millions of people worldwide have a mental disorder. However, the WHO adds that most get little or no treatment. Learn the vocabulary needed to talk about this important study. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs