Jordan skate park puts smile on faces of refugee children

1 / 4
Refugee children skate on February 24, 2018 at the "7Hills Skate Park" in Amman, that was constructed in 2014 by passionate skateboarding volunteers from all over the world thanks to an initiative launched by a German NGO and a local Jordanian association which offers free skateboarding lessons to refugees several times a week. (AFP)
2 / 4
Refugee children skate on February 24, 2018 at the "7Hills Skate Park" in Amman, that was constructed in 2014 by passionate skateboarding volunteers from all over the world thanks to an initiative launched by a German NGO and a local Jordanian association which offers free skateboarding lessons to refugees several times a week. (AFP)
3 / 4
Refugee children skate on February 24, 2018 at the "7Hills Skate Park" in Amman, that was constructed in 2014 by passionate skateboarding volunteers from all over the world thanks to an initiative launched by a German NGO and a local Jordanian association which offers free skateboarding lessons to refugees several times a week. (AFP)
4 / 4
A refugee child skates on February 24, 2018 at the "7Hills Skate Park" in Amman, that was constructed in 2014 by passionate skateboarding volunteers from all over the world thanks to an initiative launched by a German NGO and a local Jordanian association which offers free skateboarding lessons to refugees several times a week. (AFP)
Updated 04 March 2018
0

Jordan skate park puts smile on faces of refugee children

AMMAN: Hair flying in the wind Manar, Amniya and Farida hurtle down the slopes of “7Hills Skate Park” in the Jordanian capital Amman where refugee children come to play.
The 650-square-meter (almost 7,000-foot) concrete space was built in December 2014 by skateboard enthusiasts from around the world.
The money was raised during a fundraising campaign by a German NGO and a local association that offers free classes for the children of refugees from countries such as Syria, Iraq or Sudan.
Mohammed Duma, a 40-year-old Sudanese man who fled the war in Darfur, looks on with pride and a touch of apprehension as his two daughters, aged four and eight, learn to ride a skateboard with their trainer.
“We come here every Monday. Life in Jordan is very expensive, it’s the only place where I can take my girls to play and have fun for free,” said Duma.
He has applied with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for relocation to the United States, Canada or Britain.
Salima Issa, a 26-year-old housewife, sits on a patch of grass with her two-year-old son, who is busy nibbling on crackers.
She watches as her son Mohammed, four, and eight-year-old daughter Amniya cruise by on their skateboards.
Issa too fled Darfur, where the conflict that broke out in 2003 has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions of others.

The skatepark’s name was inspired by the topography of Amman, a city built on seven hills.
“This park has become a breath of fresh air for young refugees from Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Palestine,” said Mohammed Zakaria, one of the park managers.
Skateboarding “is a difficult sport, which allows you to gain self-confidence and learn that falling is not the end of the world, and that you have to try a second and third time to succeed,” he explained.
“Life is like that and we all learn from our mistakes,” said the 32-year-old Jordanian.
He said around 140 boys and girls take free classes every week, mostly run by foreign volunteers.
Jordan hosts refugees from more than 40 countries, including over 650,000 people from Syria, according to the UNHCR.
Yussef Khaled, 14, who lost his father in Somalia’s war, arrived six years ago with his mother and sister, and does not miss an opportunity to come to the skate park.
“There are not many places to have fun in Amman, and even if there were, we wouldn’t have the money to go anyway,” said the teenager.
“This place makes me forget that I’m a refugee,” he said, showing off his latest trick on the skateboard.


Turkey unafraid of US sanctions over S-400 deal: Foreign minister

Updated 2 min 22 sec ago
0

Turkey unafraid of US sanctions over S-400 deal: Foreign minister

ANKARA: Turkey said Monday it does not fear US sanctions over its decision to buy a Russian missile defense system that has frayed ties between the NATO allies.
The United States has given Turkey a deadline of July 31 to drop the purchase of the S-400 system, or face sanctions and removal from its F-35 fighter jet program.
“Regardless of whatever sanctions there may be, whatever the messages from America, we’ve bought the S-400,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.
He said Turkey was working on the date for the system’s delivery, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said would be in the first half of July.
“If there’s an attack on Turkey tomorrow, we cannot expect NATO to protect us because NATO’s capacity would only protect 30 percent of Turkey’s airspace,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey will no longer allow other countries to dictate its defense purchases, he said.
Relations between Washington and Ankara have deteriorated over multiple issues, including the S-400 deal and US support for a Syrian Kurdish militia viewed as terrorists by Turkey.
Sanctions could cause damage at a time when Turkey’s economy is already struggling.
Its currency lost a third of its value last year, in part due to temporary US sanctions over the detention of an American pastor.
Turkey has plans to buy 100 F-35s, and has lucrative contracts to build parts of the jet.
Erdogan said last week he would use his “good” relationship with US counterpart Donald Trump to defuse the crisis when they meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan this week.