Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa and Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) have partnered to launch the award-winning non-profit programme, Skateistan, in East London.
Skateistan empowers children through skateboarding and education, and the launch builds on Laureus SA’s sport for development initiative in the town.
The Skateistan launch took place at A.W. Barnes Primary School, and coincided with the final leg of the Laureus SA’s Goodwill Tour from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape as part of its 20 year anniversary celebrations.
Skateistan uses skateboarding as a catalyst for change by providing young children with access to innovative programmes and educational opportunities that support the national curriculum. The creative, arts-based lessons teach vital age-appropriate elements like gender equality, life skills, career planning, leadership skills and more.
Morné du Plessis, Chairperson of Laureus the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation SA, noted that the Foundation shares Skateistan’s vision of using sport as a tool for socio-economic development among the youth.
“Skateboarding is immensely popular among our kids and offers a fantastic platform to reach the youth and make a tangible difference in their lives. In addition, Skateistan’s impact on girls across the globe has also been well documented and complements an important Laureus support pillar, and I can’t think of a better way to expand on our Sport for Good activities than by co-funding this programme here in East London.”
Joined by Laureus Sport for Good Foundation SA Ambassador, Natalie du Toit, learners also had the opportunity to meet their Skateistan coaches and experience riding on a skateboard for the very first time.
Focusing on education and upliftment
At the core of Mercedes-Benz South Africa’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is a focus on education and community upliftment. With its manufacturing plant based in East London, MBSA has a deep and well-established footprint in the town.
Commenting on the launch, Abey Kgotle, Executive Director of Human Resources & Corporate Affairs for MBSA said, “Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Laureus SA have created a symbiotic and sustainable intervention by using sport to catalyse youth development and transform communities, sustainably. The launch of Skateistan in East London reaffirms our commitment by powering the possibilities of a brighter future for the young people, particularly in the Eastern Cape.”
Skateistan reaches more than 3,000 youngsters aged between 5 and 17, in over 15 locations across the globe including Johannesburg, Atlantis in Cape Town, Cambodia, Jordan and Afghanistan. The programme has won numerous awards, and was also honoured for its work by the Laureus World Sports Academy in 2015.