Lebanon’s first public skate park is breathing life into the streets of Beirut despite one of the worst economic crises to hit the country in decades.
The skate park became a reality after locals teamed up with international skaters in a global crowdfunding campaign, raising money from both businesses and private donors.
It is bringing back some normality for the youth in Beirut, after 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate ripped through the city last August, destroying hundreds of buildings and killing about 200 people.
The skate park is located in one of the very few spaces available for free to the public in Beirut, after the local municipality offered the land for the project.
Once the money was raised, skateboarders from around the world flocked to Lebanon to help build the park. It has been a much-needed escape for children and young people in Lebanon living without power and suffering frequent internet outages sparked by fuel shortages.
“There’s no electricity, no internet, we have nothing at home”, said 19-year-old university student Nicholas.
He said he spent his entire summer with his friends, improving his skateboard moves, and taking his mind off the country's countless problems.
“I needed to leave the house, be outside. I didn’t know anyone at the park, but now they’re all my friends. They help me advance my skating skills, and they help me turn around my life."