Skateistan began as a Kabul-based Afghan NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) and is now an International non-profit charity providing skateboarding and educational programming in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Pakistan. Skateistan is non-political, independent, and inclusive of all ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds.
We work with youth ages 5-18.
Over 50% of our students are streetworking children.
Nearly 40% of our students are girls.
To use skateboarding as a tool for empowerment:
in a place it hasn't existed before; giving young people a voice, and;
giving local people agency to shape projects according to need.
“Skateboarding as a tool for empowerment.” progressive.equality.respect.trust.meritocratic.practicality. creativity.playfulness.humanity
Skateboarding in Afghanistan?
Absolutely. As soon as Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich dropped his board in Kabul in 2007, he was surrounded by the eager faces of children of all ages who wanted to be shown how to skate. Stretching out the three boards he and a former girlfriend/aidworker had brought with them, "Ollie" began dedicating himself to the creation of a small skate school in Afghanistan.
A group of Afghan friends (aged 18-22) who were naturals at skateboarding shared the three boards and quickly progressed in their new favourite sport—and so skateboarding hit Afghanistan. The success with the first students prompted Ollie to think bigger: by bringing more boards back to Kabul and establishing an indoor skateboarding venue, the program would be able to teach many more youth, and also be able to provide older girls with a private facility to continue skateboarding.
On October 29, 2009, Skateistan completed construction of an all-inclusive skatepark and educational facility on 5428 square meters of land donated by the Afghan National Olympic Committee. The indoor section was graciously built by IOU Ramps.
Skateistan has emerged as Afghanistan’s first skateboarding school, and is dedicated to teaching both male and female students. It aims to build indoor and outdoor skateboarding facilities in which youth can come together to skateboard: here, they forge bonds that transcend social barriers. Here, they’re enabled to affect change on issues that are important to them.
Skateboarding is simply "the hook" for engaging with hard-to-reach young people (ages 5-18). Skateistan's development aid programs work with growing numbers of marginalized youth through skateboarding, and provide them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment programs. Skateistan has expanded its activities to include skateboard aid projects and skateparks for Cambodian youth, a grassroots street-level program in Pakistan, and a state-of-the-art learning/skateboarding centre in Mazar-e-Sharif, Northern Afghanistan.
In Kabul, Skateistan's participants come from all of Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and include 40% female students, hundreds of streetworking children, and youth with disabilities. In our skatepark and classrooms they develop skills in skateboarding, leadership, civic responsibility, multimedia, and creative arts. The students themselves decide what they want to learn; we connect them with a safe space and opportunities for them to develop the skills that they consider important.
Since Skateistan began in 2007 we've found that youth of all ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds love to skateboard. Skateistan brings them together, equipping young men and women to lead their communities toward social change and development.