picture 1-3: Skateistan Afghanistan, others: Skateistan Cambodia and book release. All pictures from Skateistan!
In the war torn Afghanistan and the uncertainty of a bright future, glimmers of hope are building within the countries youth. With skateboards, SKATEISTAN wants to lead Afghanistans youth from the chaos of war to a better future. “Afghan kids are the same as kids all over the world. They just haven’t been given the same opportunities.” Most of the young people in Afghanistan have no acess to sport activities, schools often have no playgrounds. Children’s labor is everywhere and despite their young ages, the pupils need to work. Afghanistan’s educational system suffered deeply during the period of the rule of the Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001 were education received an exclusively religious character, and education of woman was forbidden. The international community began to work on restoring the country’s educational system in 2001. In a country where 50% of the population is under 16, reaching youth can have a profound effect.
Skateistan is a Kabul based nonprofit educational organisation and the world’s first co-educational skateboarding school. It was founded in 2007 by the Australian, Oliver Percovich. “The school engages growing numbers youth in Afghanistan through skateboarding, and provides them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment programs.” “The project connects the kids with a safe environment and opportunities to develop the skills that they consider important and to do positive things for themselves.” Here they can develop skills in skateboarding, leadership, civic responsibility, multimedia, and creative arts; Skateistan volunteers work in areas of armed conflict to teach the students from all of Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, including 40% female students, streetworking children, and youth with disabilities.”
Skateistan CAMBODIA and Skateistan PAKISTAN was founded some years later with the same aim, to bring youth together, equipping young men and women with the skills to lead their communities toward social change and development.
I went to the book release party and exhibition in Berlin in June, as i really appreciate this courageous and fascinating project and follow it’s developments since a while (they also had an exhibition in Innsbruck/Autria for example) Furthermore a friend of mine works for Skateistan here in Berlin.
check out the book Skateistan: The Tale of Skateboarding in Afghanistan.
and get more information about this project here