Natalia is 16 and she lives in Johannesburg. In her area, kids generally play indoors and she says she has only seen boys playing in the street. Natalia has been coming to Skateistan for a while now and she attends the Youth Leadership program, including ‘This Girl Can’ and ‘Global Girl Project’. These projects give girls the opportunity to develop their confidence and leadership skills and to start planning for their futures.
Natalia says that before she came to Skateistan, she was clever but unfocused and she didn’t know what she wanted from her life.
For Natalia the biggest change that has come from her time at Skateistan is helping her to focus on her goals and work towards them. Beforehand, she was often distracted and she didn’t have a clear idea of where she was going. Now her dreams are crystallising:
“I want to study abroad - hopefully in Canada or Australia. And I want to work in the media, maybe owning my own multimedia company.”
At Skateistan, she made a new friend called Priscillah. They actually went to the same school but they didn’t realise they had lots in common until they bonded at Skateistan. Priscillah is confident that her friend will achieve her dreams.
Natalia recalls lots of moments that were significant for her at Skateistan, including being the first to graduate from ‘This Girl Can’. She says her parents were really proud of her that day and now they support everything she does at Skateistan.
“I have learned public speaking through the ‘This Girl Can' project. I was a very shy person before, I always avoided doing it. When the Global Girl Project came it helped me practise my public speaking skills even more. I learned that we, as girls, have the power to bring change in our communities.
The other girls in the group pushed me to dream big and be a better person. Everyone in the group was just so kind, fun, and sweet. I love the career and education planning classes. I loved the social entrepreneurship sessions where we learned about writing about business plans, and making our CVs impressive. Now I know what I need to do to build my future.”
Recently, Natalia was made a prefect at her new school, even though she is pretty new there. This seemed like a huge milestone for her.
“It was a big achievement for me - I was not even expecting it. My teacher at school even said they chose it because of how I carry myself around others. I have a good way of relating to others and I can solve conflict. I have learned kindness here at Skateistan. Being at Skateistan was great for my self discovery.”
You can help other young girls like Natalia to build their own futures by becoming a Citizen of Skateistan. Donate $10 a month to get started!