Megabiskate was founded by in 2005 by Israel Dejene who saw kids in his neighbourhood falling through the cracks in the system and wanted a way to engage and inspire them to stay positive. He watched as some of the kids in the neighbourhood were sliding down the asphalt with plastic fixed to the bottom of their shoes. As an individual who was quickly developing a passion for skateboarding Israel saw an opportunity to empower the kids in the neighborhood. As a tool to engage the kids, to develop self-esteem, confidence, and an alternative lifestyle to the troubles on the streets Megabiskate was born.
Before crossing borders or seeking help from the United Skates, Israel began to focuse on the resources he had to find solution and inspiration. He began using the one and only skateboard he owned and opened his home to create a safe space for the kids to skate as well as to keep them off the streets.
Israel deJene, having developed networks around the world wanted to become a bridge for change and connect these kids with opportunities for economic, social, and educational development and empowerment. These boys and girls were particularly from the Entoto area situated by the hills of a rough neighbourhood in Ethiopia where Israel grew up.
The meaning of Megabi is derived from the Ethiopian word which means someone that gives life to others. Israel was given that nickname from his father at a very young age. As a young boy he would wake up very early in the morning and walk to buy bread during some very hard times in Ethiopia when food was hard to find. Israel is still continuing to travel far and wide to bring back inspiration and hope to empower these young talented kids in his community. That same nickname that was given to Israel when he was very young is still just as meaningful now as it once was.
Megabiskate began as a very small grassroots movement but has quickly grown into a worldwide inspiration. That same movement built Ethiopia’s first ramp in the History of the country.
Volunteers are a vital part of this project and we are always seeking new organizational partners. If you are interested in getting involved or helping to support Megabiskate please contact us to learn how you can be a part of this movement.