Project in Kenya

"Before Ali leaves us, I want to be able to skate!"

An Interview with Japheth Njenga, headmaster of the Shangilia orphanage in Kenya

Are you able to skate?
(loughing out loud) I wasn’t even close to, but before Ali leaves us, I have to be able to skate!

The first time you heard about the skatepark project, what came to your mind back then?
On one hand I thought it was an innovative and nice idea, but on the other hand I was concerned regarding the potential injuries.

What is your opinion about skateboarding, does it mean a lot to the children and does it make them happy?
Shangilia developed itself into a centre of arts and performance as well, an institution where we want the adolescents to have a place to perform arts. Accordingly acrobatic sports have a priority in this institution and that’s why we don’t have difficulties to teach our children artistic and acrobatic sports such as skateboarding. Actually it is an amazing process, which results in an increasing self-consciousness. Sometime it gives them great pleasure when other people from Nairobi visit our skatepark and give applaud while watching them skateboarding.

After the inauguration of the skatepark, what are you going to do with it?
We are going to have different entrance fees, for example kids from the local slum and members of the skateboarding society of Kenya won’t pay any entrance fee. Kids and adolescents with upper-class families will be able to pay an annual membership or just pay by visit.

Why are you working for Shangilia?
That’s easy, I love to see the process of helpless and discouraged children becoming valuable and appreciated members of our society.

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