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PREMIERE: One woman’s mission to build a skatepark in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley for young refugees.

In this short film skater and Barcelona based filmmaker Jana Otte follows another skater Sojourn (co-director) who is on a self-made mission to help child refugees in Lebanon by giving them a space to have fun, play with others and most importantly: skate.

Sojourn is the Founder of Free Border Skate and the author of six children’s books, including Roxy Skates to Space, a children's book about the power of making friendships through sports. Originally from Lexington Kentucky, Sojourn has lived in seven countries including Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley where the program for Free Border Skate runs.  

Free Border Skate is a female lead, female centered extreme skate program in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, aimed at fostering positive spaces for youth living in areas of conflict and civil unrest. The charity encourages children and teenagers to positively express themselves, while working towards managing and overcoming the trauma in their past and present.

Sojourn 'I've always  had a sense that anything is possible and by way of getting things done, I have focused my efforts on what I like to call "radical inclusion." There's so much power in diversity and when we make sports (or all things for that matter) inclusive, we allow each other's experiences and ideas about life to enrich and enhance the sport.

I'm also really driven by a simple word and that is Audacity... the audacity to think bigger, to think beyond what's obvious, push boundaries and encourage others to rethink their bias.

Even after all my many endeavors, I'm still quite sure I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Perhaps this is exactly it.

Currently calling San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua home, I also sit on the board of Salam LADC, a not-for-profit org that provides resources to refugees and vulnerable Lebanese. I'm also the co-creator of Myskatepro, an app that teaches roller skating with world games silver medalist Candice Heiden.

Jana 'Skating helped me get through a really difficult time in my own life  - that personal connection was the driving force to make a film surrounding it. Discovering Sojourn's own story and her mission to spread skate throughout communities inflicted by war and trauma - I knew I needed to document the potential of sport as therapy.

For both Sojourn and I skating has always been a passion, and with the recent surge in sales and popularity, the general public has begun to take notice just how therapeutic not only the sport itself is, but also the community.

What's even more impressive is how women are killing it in the rinks, the streets and even in the skate parks.'


@janita_ @isthatsojo

@freeborderskate / @myskatepro

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