Local Update: Building New Learning Spaces in Phnom Penh

Skateistan is on a mission to empower children through skateboarding and education. Giving children access to safe spaces and education provides life skills that go beyond the skatepark and the classroom. To increase the impact that Skateistan has for the local community, we created a new learning environment for children at Skateistan in Cambodia. Thanks to the support from the Australian Embassy Direct Aid Program (DAP), we built a library and a reading room! Scroll down for a visual tour. 

In January, we updated all of you on the progress of the library earlier this year in the blog post ‘Local Update: Dropping In Library in Cambodia’. Since then, the library opened to students and became an immediate draw to children in the local community, so much so that an additional reading space was built to accommodate the high number of children. The reading space allows the team to manage two smaller groups more effectively. The library has now been open for seven months, and we are thrilled to report record attendance numbers of students in the Dropping In sessions in Phnom Penh. 

Skateistan student attending a Dropping In session at the library in Phnom Penh.

Early numbers on impact: 

65 children registered for the Dropping In program directly after the library opening. These new students benefited from the additional educational resources and safe learning spaces. From February through April, 1204 students attended the program (44% of them were girls), and the weekly student attendance averaged around 100 students. Our Skate School in Phnom Penh has seen increased participation in May and June this year, indicating that the library build fulfilled a need in the community for safe learning environments away from home.

The Skateistan team in Cambodia worked hard with a collaborative design practice, Atelier COLE to design the details of the creative spaces to have the greatest impact. They landed on a design that enables a large number of children to use the same space at once. The schedule addresses student needs by introducing them to technology on the computers and tablets, where they are introduced to e-learning and online reading materials, and literacy development in the reading club. The younger students visit the library for additional activities such as dancing and colouring, as well as participating in other fun games. 

The local team in Phnom Penh selected books and ordered them from the SIPAR organization, a French NGO focused on developing reading and fighting against illiteracy. For children to access the space as much as possible, opening hours are centered around the time that children are out of school. 

What types of activities can you find at the library? 

  • Educational games and activities 

  • Children’s coloring books 

  • Four computers for students and educators to use for learning purposes

  • Rumie Tablets: the tablets will be used in the library and reading space to provide students accessibility to e-books, videos, and electronic documents. The tablets will be also used by educators to access more learning materials to improve their capacity in teaching and working with children

  • Spaces to read by yourself or with friends 

  • Dancing



If you believe that every child has the right to a high-quality education that helps them explore their own creativity, you can DONATE to support us today. You can also join our global community of supporters by becoming a CITIZEN of Skateistan!