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Empowering girls and refugees through skateboarding

Global Goals & Global Society
Empowering girls and refugees through skateboarding

Free Movement Skateboarding, a grassroots charity based in Athens, Greece, is making a significant impact by offering skateboarding lessons to children of refugees and encouraging the participation of girls in the sport. Through their inclusive approach and utilization of public spaces, the organization has created a new community for young refugees and is fostering empowerment, confidence, and gender equality in skateboarding.

Skateboarding is not only a sport but also a transformative experience that can bring joy, boost self-confidence, and build resilience. Erato, a skateboarder and instructor with Free Movement Skateboarding, discovered the transformative power of skateboarding when she first picked up a skateboard in Athens. She realized that skateboarding challenged her, helped her feel stronger, and provided a sense of freedom during a difficult time in her life.

Traditionally, skateboarding has been seen as a male-dominated activity. However, Erato has witnessed a positive shift in Greece, with more girls embracing skateboarding. As an instructor, she emphasizes that skateboarding is for everyone, regardless of gender. Free Movement Skateboarding actively encourages girls to join their sessions, breaking down gender norms and providing a supportive environment where all children can learn and grow together. Erato understands the importance of believing in oneself and empowers girls by demonstrating that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

In addition to teaching local children, Free Movement Skateboarding initially focused on providing skateboarding lessons to children in refugee camps in Athens. The organization has successfully created a community where children from diverse backgrounds, including Greece, Georgia, and Egypt, skate together, fostering a sense of unity and connection. Through skateboarding, these children build confidence, develop new skills, and form friendships that transcend cultural and social barriers.

Gender equality and female empowerment are crucial aspects of Free Movement Skateboarding's mission. Erato acknowledges that gender expectations can be particularly restrictive in Greece, and the organization actively works to challenge these norms. By providing opportunities for girls to participate in skateboarding and showcasing female skaters of all ages, Free Movement Skateboarding aims to inspire more girls to embrace the sport and break barriers in a country with limited skatepark infrastructure.

To further their mission and create a safe space for all young skaters, Free Movement Skateboarding is fundraising to build their own skatepark in Athens. This skatepark will not only serve as a platform to raise awareness about gender equality in skateboarding but also provide a much-needed facility for the children they teach. Having a dedicated skatepark will contribute to the growth of the skateboarding community, encourage more girls to participate, and enable the organization to pass on the love of skateboarding to future generations.

The work of Free Movement Skateboarding aligns with the broader goal of promoting gender equality, inclusivity, and social integration. By empowering girls and refugees through skateboarding, the organization is fostering a more equitable society where individuals of all backgrounds can thrive and express themselves freely.

In line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Free Movement Skateboarding's efforts in promoting gender equality, inclusivity, and community cohesion through skateboarding align with the vision of a global society that values diversity and ensures equal opportunities for all. By empowering girls and refugees, the organization contributes to SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). Through their dedication to creating safe spaces and breaking down barriers, Free Movement Skateboarding exemplifies the transformative power of sports in fostering a more inclusive, resilient, and interconnected world for future generations.


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