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  • Writer's pictureJonny Nelson

Skateboarding at an Orphanage in Burkina Faso, Africa

We love to see how God moves in the lives of others inspiring them to make a difference, especially when it involves skateboarding and Jesus. Here is an awesome story of just that from Danielle! 

In June of 2013, I hopped on a plane and headed across the world to West Africa to meet new friends, with a photography based non-profit, and ignite a totally new passion for living. We went to several orphanages and provided aid to villages across the country. It was amazing! One of these orphanages, called Remar Ranch in Burkina Faso houses roughly 200-250 children, young adolescents and young adults. This particular orphanage is one of the most structured, well equipped, almost self sustaining and free loving refuge these children could find.  It wasn’t till the second to last day I was there, I noticed something very familiar in the dirt… a broken skateboard. I asked the groundskeeper about the board and where it came from. He let me know that they received 3 skateboards in donation crates and that the children are obsessed with skating any pavement available. He also said they were wanting to build some ramps, but didn’t know how or what would be needed to do it properly. He went inside and pulled out the boards. One was hand made. He flipped one over and it was literally the exact same board my husband was riding at the time and it all came together. I told him that I might be able to assist with this task of building ramps after I touched base with a few friends back home. Maybe we can make a way to give these kids a small source of inspiration and extra curricular hopefulness to invest in.

Danielle has been working persistently raising awareness, money and gathering donations of skateboards, helmets and shoes to make this a reality. Now she will lead a small team back to Burkina Faso in West Africa in June. This trip will be two fold:

  1. Build a small skate sanctuary on the orphanage property for the children to get away and skate till their feet fall off.  This first stage of the skate park will include a few quarter pipes, a box, a rail, some kickers, launch ramp, and whatever else they have time and funds for.

  2. Provide humanitarian needs to the surrounding areas through food, school supplies, shoes, basic needs and health services. 

Here are a few prayer requests from Danielle and her team: 

  1. We have a lot of gear, shoes, tools, boards, helmets and we are taking it all in 6 checked bags so pray that it all makes the weight limits and we don’t have issues with customs.

  2. That this project will be well received for the good of the children and hopefully a healthy option for them to find encouragement and self esteem.

  3. That we will be used for God’s glory both in the Christian and secular realms.

  4. That the team/workers will be filled up each day with health and the energy they need to work in the African sun and heat and that we will have enough time to locate the materials need to make this happen.

  5. Eyes would be opened, ears would be cleared, hearts softened and hands broken for Christ.

  6. The kids and the orphanage. They are ready to get their hands dirty and come hand and hand to start paving the way for these children to have this freedom.

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