In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Three Australian skateboarders took their boards to Kabul and started teaching children how to ride and have fun. Then, something amazing happened...
SKATEISTAN is Afghanistan’s—and the world’s—first co-educational skateboarding school. Operating as an independent, neutral, Afghan NGO, the school engages growing numbers of urban and internally-displaced youth in Afghanistan through skateboarding, and provides them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment. Skateistan's students come from all of Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They not only develop skills in skateboarding and skateboarding instruction, but also healthy habits, civic responsibility, information technology, the arts, and languages. The students themselves decide what they want to learn—we connect them with teachers who will enable them to develop the skills that they consider important. Since Skateistan has been active in Kabul, we’ve seen that Afghan youth of all ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds love to skateboard. Skateistan brings them together, equipping young men and women with the skills to lead their communities toward social change and development.
The program has expanded from three boards and no building to a free, co-educational skateboarding school open six days a week and boasting a 18,836-square-foot indoor skate park, funded by $600,000 in donations.
Why is this awesome?
1. It builds community. Skating is a great tool for communication. "Helps with social interaction...I think the kids were very keen to get involved with something...focusing on an activity giving them something to do that is positive. At the moment in the media there is nothing actually positive wirtten, filmed, or spoken about Afghanistan..."
2. It builds confidence and ultimately confidence = smart choices. "To become a good skateboarder, you just have to lose your fear - and they don't have any fear in the first place."
3. Girls are getting involved.
"Roughly half of Skateistan's students are female, not only notable because skateboarding is a boy-dominated sport, but also because of the plight of women in Afghanistan."
"When I'm skating I feel like a bird flying. I wish I've always had."
Hardly any of us can imagine what it's like to live in a country that has been afflicted with war for almost all of it's history. Yes, there's a lot of work that needs to get done in Afghanistan (i.e. building new infrastructure), but seriously the kids need something positive to do. Something fun to do; depression lowers productivity by like a crazy percentage. No child should be forced to grow up so quickly, so THANK YOU Oliver Percovich, jazaks to the max!
"Not to get preachy, but at the end of the day, people are people. Culturally we may be very different but our goals are pretty much the same — we all want to be happy. No-one wants to suffer. This is why, for me, doing a trip like this is so important in the grander scheme of things. It’s that cross-cultural dialogue that will hopefully help push things in the right direction for us all." - Noah Abrams
Want to volunteer?
Click here and make a change