The story of Skate United started back in 2015 when its founder, James Kelly, travelled to Lebanon to host skate sessions in Syrian Refugee camps. The trip ignited a spark to do something even though at the time James didn’t exactly know what that something was.
There I saw the extent of escapism and bonding power skateboarding can offer first hand. No one had seen these kids so happy in months. Just a simple skateboard offered them an escape, something all skaters can relate to. The children and I shared in this experience a few weeks before their home got hit by a suicide bomber, I still pray for their safety. ~ James Kelly
Fast forward to February 2017, James manifested that spark into Skate United, a non-profit humanitarian project that brings displaced refugee and local children together through the power of skateboarding.
Since then James, with the help of his Dutch friends, Tom Boerman, Roseanne Steeneken, Dineke Cornelissen, Aron Rovers, Max Grosfeld, Deen Mondt and Lisa Peters, successfully hosted ten sessions in three different refugee camps, helping 45 kids assimilate and escape from their daily frustration.
I want to bring to these children that have been through hell some escapism. And
eventually have them skating with the local kids to break down any political ideas about each other before they get formed.
James’s plans for the future involve growing the project one step at a time. Currently it is only limited to the Netherlands, but he plans to someday bring it to every refugee camp in Europe by creating trustworthy relationships.
So far the activities of this project were organised without funding. If you want to get involved or donate to help the cause, visit the Skate United Facebook Page or get in touch with the crew.