July 03, 2015 06:42 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

  • Video Japanese-Americans Remember End of World War II

    VOA goes to a gathering of old men who served in the American military during the war. They fought against Japan while their families were being detained in internment camps in the US. “I…felt very strongly that we needed to show that we were patriotic Americans.” | As It Is More

  • Audio Chinese Children Seeking a Happy Ending

    Repeated cases of child abuse in China have shocked the country. They also have led to more protection of children’s rights. But child welfare activists say the government and private groups need to do more to stop neglect and violence against children. More

  • Tunisia Attack

    Audio Tunisia Detains 12 in Connection with Hotel Attacks

    Also in the news today, an Afghan court is canceling death sentences given to four men for a mob killing of a woman; At least 36 dead in Philippines boat accident, and dozens remain missing; and the United States and Japan will face each other again in the Women’s World Cup final this Sunday. More

  • President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, July 1, 2015.

    Audio U.S. and Cuba to Reopen Embassies

    Sec. of State John Kerry will travel to Havana to raise the U.S. flag over the first American embassy there in 50 years. Also in the news, Islamic State group claims attacks in Egypt’s Sinai; Liberian president calls new Ebola case “disturbing”; U.S. advances to Women's World Cup final. More

  • Audio Clash Reported at Border of Vietnam, Cambodia

    Cambodian and Vietnamese social media have been reporting on a clash along the border between the two countries. The fighting happened Sunday. Hundreds of Cambodians and Vietnamese were involved. At least 10 people were reported injured. More

Featured Stories

  • South Korea Film Terminator Genisys

    Video Demons, Male Dancers and Dinosaurs at Theaters Everywhere

    Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator and Channing Tatum reprises his role as stripper Magic Mike. But there are also scary movies about demon children, comedies with a talking teddy bear and a marijuana-smoking secret agent; and a documentary about the late British singer Amy Winehouse. More

  • Audio Sweet Potatoes as Medicine

    Researchers have helped to reduce a major health problem with a simple food – the orange sweet potato. A program created to help farmers grow the crop has unexpected and healthy results. Some reports say this is the first time an agricultural program has had a major effect on health. More

  • Video Robots Ready to Work in Restaurants

    For many years, machines have been doing work that people once did, including some difficult jobs. Search and rescue operations employ high technology robots. But there is another area that may soon take jobs traditionally held by human beings: the restaurant industry. More

  • Audio More American Fathers Stay Home to Raise Kids

    More and more fathers in the United States are trading in the traditional role of breadwinner -- the person earning money -- for the role of stay-at-home dad. Meet two fathers who have been on this road for the past decade. You can also learn some great words such as "clique" and "masculinity." More

  • Audio Don't Be Caught With Your Pants Down

    Are you too big for your boots? Do you often fly by the seat of your pants? Learn what these clothing expressions mean and so many others. You may be excited to get started but keep your shirt on! Be patient. All you have to do is click on this episode of Words and Their Stories. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs