International Women’s Day: Mpho's Story


International Women’s Day is just one day. But by becoming a Citizen of Skateistan, you can help to empower women and girls all year round. 

Mpho* is 17 years old and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She lives in a dense neighborhood in the inner city with her family and always had a lot of energy to explore the places where she lived. As a curious girl she would always ask questions about her surroundings to her family and friends. One day in 2015 she was curious about the construction crews who delivered material to a site with a hole in the ground - what would one day be Skateistan’s Skate School, right in her neighborhood. 

When Mpho learned that the Skate School would open with a state-of-the-art concrete skatepark and three-story education center, she knew she would be one of the first ones in her peer group to step foot on a skateboard because she had no fear, because she was a leader. 

Never one to shy away from a new activity, Mpho joined Skateistan in 2016 when the doors of the Skate School opened to her and her peers in the neighborhood. Mpho took to skateboarding naturally, she was confident and brave in the skatepark and never feared falling down or hurting herself.


One of her educators, Vuyo, remembers meeting Mpho in 2018 and one thing she noticed was her bubbly personality, that other students were drawn to her and wanted to be around her. Although she became a role model that younger female students looked up to, her educators learned that she had a hard time opening up to her peers and really only had one friend. Mpho and her friend were encouraged to join the ‘Global Girl Project’ mentorship program for teenage girls by another educator named Wendy. In the program, socially-minded and community driven girls learn the skills to become leaders for their families, communities, countries and the world. 

"She (Wendy) was like a big sister to me and she gave me good advice about keeping good company." - Mpho

One of the tasks that the girls had to do for the mentorship program was to plan a community event where Vuyo recognised that Mpho was strong in organizing people and quick to lend a helping hand.


After many months of meeting with her mentors in the ‘Global Girl Project’ she started to open up to other students and trust them enough to be her friends. With a strong community of friends behind her, Mpho’s bravery has grown and she knows that she can do anything she sets her mind to, especially when planning for her future. 

Vuyo said, “She approached me to assist her to apply for University and she already had an idea of what she wanted to study.” 

“I am extremely proud of Mpho, she has made it to the top 10 students in her school. That gives me hope that she will do well in her upcoming exams.” - Mpho’s Mother in Johannesburg


At Skateistan Johannesburg, programs run five days a week in the afternoon for children to attend after they have been to public school. Girls-only sessions address the gender divide and give girls an equal opportunity to join in. We’re asking our supporters to make a commitment to supporting girls’ empowerment by becoming Citizens of Skateistan. Join our global community of supporters by donating $10 a month or more, and make a difference to the lives of girls all year round. 

*Mpho's name have been changed in accordance with Skateistans Child Protection Policy.