Feature: First skatepark adds new dimension to Syrian children's war-torn life

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-16 22:32:18|Editor: Wu Qin
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Young people skateboard during the opening of the first skatepark in Damascus, Syria, July 15, 2019. The skatepark was co-built by SOS Children's Villages in Syria, the German Skate Aid Foundation and Wonders Around the World, an international and independent non-profit organization. The park, which was officially opened on Monday, was completed in 26 days in an abandoned space close to a residential area that witnessed some acts of rebellion in the early years of the eight-year war in Syria. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)

DAMASCUS, July 16 (Xinhua) -- The new generation in Syria, mainly those who were born during the war and hardly have a normal childhood, will finally have new dimensions added to their war-torn life.

One of these dimensions is the creation of the first skatepark in the Qudsaya suburb west of the capital Damascus.

The skatepark was co-built by SOS Children's Villages in Syria, the German Skate Aid Foundation and Wonders Around the World, an international and independent non-profit organization.

Their aim, as these organizations say, is to give the children in Damascus a place to play, release pent-up energy, and try to heal some of the psychological wounds after years of conflict.

The park, which was officially opened on Monday, was completed in 26 days in an abandoned space close to a residential area that witnessed some acts of rebellion in the early years of the eight-year war in Syria.

Ahead of the official opening, Youssef, a 14-year-old kid, was practising skating at the park, wearing plastic slippers and a bandage around his right knee.

The boy was displaced from the town of Beit Sahem in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus when the war was raging there.

His family sought refuge in Qudsaya where he started to learn and enjoy the relatively new sport in Syria.

"We saw foreigners working here and when I and my friends knew the project, we decided to learn this sport. I feel that I am so good at it," the boy told Xinhua.

For the 18-year-old Wassim Kamal, skateboarding was a way to help release his stress from the enduring woes of war and the occasional loneliness at home without the company of his family members.

"In this sport, you go up and slide down, and when you slide down you feel that all your negative energy is gone and positive energy came through and it feels so good," Kamal explained.

Taylor Stitman, a previously German school teacher who is a member of the German Skate Aid Foundation, was also feeling tremendously happy for the project.

He told Xinhua that skateboarding is a good tool to deal with children in areas of conflict as it helps build strong character.

"The reason we worked in Syria is that it's one of the countries in conflict and the kids need care so we had to do it and skateboarding is a real tool to work with and to build strong and powerful kids," Stitman told Xinhua.

Skateboarding is a sport that unifies people of all races and beliefs, he added.

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