Charity builds skate-parks in Uganda

The Uganda Skateboard Union is a nonprofit that develops skate-parks and clubs for kids in Uganda. Judging from their blog, they're doing amazing work, growing fast, and doing stuff that should be replicable elsewhere.

Our first park was completed over a year ago. It has been a great success, lots of kids have been learning to skate, all of them are improving, and loving it more than ever. We now want to spread skateboarding to a new community in the country, to share it with more kids.

We are looking for donations to help us buy land and materials to make this happen. If you like what we have done with our first park, please support us in building a new one. As with our first park we are relying solely on private donations, so any amount will help!



  1. Sweet! A skate park! That’s way more useful than a school or hospital. Check out this 720 darkside fli—oh wait I can’t read or receive inoculations.

  2. Yeah, why would you try to improve the quality of children’s lives by giving them a safe place to play in a country haunted by a decades-old civil war that involves child soldiers? After all, so long as there’s a single sick person or crowded school, no other development work should be undertaken.

  3. Tecumseh, way to go! you said i even had a chance to call that someone was going to say it.

    hooray for the “Its pointless to do X, when Y exists.” logic that will inevitably come up when someone does something cool for other people.

  4. I just think it’s odd that an urban sport is being transplanted to a mostly rural setting. Kids began skating because of the ubiquity of pavement, both in the city and suburbs. To find kids skating in an area of mostly dirt roads is just confusing, like the downhill skiing park built indoors in Dubai, UAE. I think skating is great, but so is BMX bicycling which makes more sense in this setting (it would be a lot easier to build a BMX track in rural Uganda, and wouldn’t need any poured concrete). Plus the bikes could be used for transport around the village or city (face it– a skateboard is almost useless on a dirt road).

    Then I think of all the kids I knew who broke wrists or chipped teeth skating; is that a good thing for relatively poor people?

  5. #5

    I spent a lot of my childhood in outback Australia 20 years ago. We skated on the local petrol station concourse and a couple of church carpark’s (one had the sweetest smooth-bitumen surface for about 500kms around).

    Yes, we had dirt, but we also had a place to skate.

  6. ts th mst slss wst f mny, whl y r t t why dn’t shw thm hw t d dp(wt mnt thy lrdy knw) nd snff gl, hp hp, rp, dnc ff’s, y MTV wht trsh.
    Bld prk wth lts f trs nd thr chld frndly thngs, nt cmnt strctr tht cld crt thg mntlty nd crckd sklls, jst bcs y mrcn mrns grw p wth sktbrd dsn’t ncssrly mn tht y cld mps tht n thrs, th sm wy wth bsbll prk nd bsktbll, w hv ftbll(tht’s sccr t y dts) whch cld b plyd n drt nd n ny lvl grnd nd ts wy mr fn thn shtng strds(bsbll), strt grwng p y slf mndd vrmpsng hypcrts. knw y mn wll bt ws p, wk p nd s hw rst f th wrld s.

  7. Yeah, TECUMSEH, children in poor countries
    should only have practical things like education
    and health care. Something fun like a skate park
    isn’t appropriate for them.

  8. #2, #3, and #10: sure, a skate park is fun, and it might take a few kids away from ak-47’s and machetes, but it’s rather bigoted to give money or support to things like OLPC or skate parks when the nation considered suffers from chronic poverty, is close to the bottom in terms of GDP per capita and life expectancy. To say “but they need to have fun” or “well, they’ll not be in gangs” is almost as offensively ignorant as the effort itself. many people die in Uganda every day from problems that could be solved with a few CENTS of salt. It’s be nice if the people in Uganda could have their basic needs met AND have a skate park, but, well, that’s not going to happen soon. until then, squandering the precious few dollars on skate parks is simply ridiculous.

  9. Yesterday’s xkcd comic aside, let’s go over this ONE MORE TIME.

    Not every fucking person in every fucking country in Africa is starving to death or in dire need of medical attention. Shit-talking other people’s charity efforts means nothing if you’re not participating in one yourself. So you may choose to give to UNICEF…who the fuck cares? I want to give to OLPC because I believe that the people OLPC is reaching out to are in need of their particular service. AND I’m going to give to this skatepark in Uganda thing because I used to skate (until my knee gave out on me) and I actually took the time to go to their site and read their blog and I saw numerous pics of kids having fun skating! That’s enough for me. Different charities exist precisely so they can meet different needs.

    Yes, some people in some countries are sick and starving and dying, and yes, it’s good to help them, but don’t crap all over other people’s attempts to do nice things for people who are a little better off.

    (Aside: I do agree with the above poster who suggested bikes may be a better idea though. Bikes are much more useful as a mode of transportation. But, that being said, I’d be shocked if bikes weren’t already ubiquitous in Uganda, as they are in many countries in Africa.)

  10. has anyone here said everyone in africa is poor and starving? no. you’re simply straw manning the issue. and poorly. why? well because uganda is full of poor people. it’s a simple fact. it’s 186th in the world in terms of GDP per capita. so fucking what if there are some people in uganda with money. what’s your point?

    in uganda, 2 million people, mostly children, die each year from water-borne disease for lack of potable water. it costs almost nothing to dig a well.

    the ethics of philanthropy are complicated and messy, but this effort is a pretty cut and dry of misuse of funds equating to an unethical act. it’s also yet another example (along with OLPC) of the myopic narcissism that drives so much american philanthropy. (e.g “I used to skate. I saw kids have fun. I will support them because I want to)

  11. you have to have skated to realize what it gives you. Builds creativity, friendship and confidence. Many of you will say that this is ridiculous however 20 yrs ago I was in the same situation as these guys. We decided to build a skateramp and received donations to do so. Some of the fondest memories of my life. I was 15, learnt the basics of carpentry (which actually enabled me to build a pretty damn nice house) and now I am a successful guy who still skates and enjoys life to the fullest. The skills skating and the offshoots of skating brought me have made me what I am today. Won’t force my kids to skate but will definitely encourage them to. Chipped teeth, broken wrists ……and a smile on their face.

    I have travelled around the world to approx 100 countries with a skateboard. I was able to connect with so many people because of this. I am not saying it solves AIDS or malaria but it sure as hell makes life more fun.

    I am making a donation.

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