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FROM THE PEDAL TO THE METAL How Skateworks is Transforming Ethiopia

Elshadi (red helmet) and her two friends are from Wochelemi and run regular skate classes for the children of the town. Photo: Jon Burns

Interview by Michael Brooke

J

on Burns is someone who I connected with via Heidi Lemon of the Skatepark Association of the

USA (SPAUSA). Heidi seems to have a knack for finding the most inspiring people in skateboarding. Jon is based in Australia and once we began chatting, I realized his work in Ethiopia was absolutely astounding. Thus far, his organization Skateworks has impacted the lives of over 800 youth in Ethiopia. His dedication is truly inspiring.

62 | CONCRETE WAVE - HOLIDAYS 2016

How did you wind up in Ethiopia? In 1999 I departed Australia to take the position of regional Creative Director for McCann Erickson advertising stationed in Jeddah. My region was from Yemen to Poland and the horn of Africa and it included Ethiopia. It was on one of my trips to Ethiopia while scouting for television commercial locations I found myself on the Lake Langano track. It is a very arid and semi-lunar landscape. While traveling through the heat, haze, sand and gnarled trees I could see children running towards our four wheel drive as we made our way along this desolate track. This is where I met a child called Mele. As the car came to a stop and the children

Profile for skateworks.Project

Concrete wave nov 2016  

November 2016 Skateworks Founder Interview in Concrete Wave about his vocational training educational project for Ethiopian Street Youth uti...

Concrete wave nov 2016  

November 2016 Skateworks Founder Interview in Concrete Wave about his vocational training educational project for Ethiopian Street Youth uti...

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