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Skateistan: empowering underprivileged children and youth through skateboarding and education

2 min read

Better Society
Skateistan: empowering underprivileged children and youth through skateboarding and education
Source: Facebook/Skateistan

Skateistan uses skateboarding as a hook to provide educational programs for at-risk youth, enabling them to create new opportunities and the potential for change.

Empowerment through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa

Skateistan is an award-winning international non-profit organisation empowering children and youth through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Through their innovative programs, Outreach, Skate and Create, Back-to-School and Youth Leadership, Skateistan aims to give youth the opportunity to become leaders for a better world.

Afghanistan, then Cambodia and now South Africa... Skateistan has Skate Schools in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as running programs in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Source: Facebook/BrightVibes

Positive social change happens when children are educated on how to take care of themselves

What began in 2007 as the brainchild of Australian skateboarder and researcher Oliver Percovich, on a trip to Afghanistan with 3 spare skateboards, has since grow into an award winning non-profit organisation whose influence is spreading across continents.

Through their innovative programs the children build the skills and confidence they need to create a brighter future for themselves and their communities. Skateistan believes that positive social change happens when children are educated on how to take care of themselves and their communities. 

Their programs are for children aged 5 to 17, with a focus on girls, children living with a disability, and children from low income backgrounds. The four core programs aim to keep children and youth involved at Skateistan for the long term. As participants get older, they become role models to the younger students and to the wider community.

From the heart of Kabul, Afghanistan; to Phnom Penh, in Cambodia; or the busy Central Business District of Johannesburg, at Skateistan the children find a fun, safe community where they can play and learn, free from discrimination and violence. 

They run their programs at their Skate Schools, at external locations, and with partner organisations in all the countries they work in. The programs are adapted to address local needs and the Skate Schools are locally run. 

Watch below the Official Skateistan Documentary, Land of Skate, in which they explore how Skateistan has impacted the lives of children and youth in these locations but also how skateboarding has created a global community in a divisive world.

Land of Skate — the Official Skateistan Documentary As the world continues to divide, in the Land of Skate people are uniting. Children and youth in countries caught up by conflict and inequality are being empowered through skateboarding. Source: Youtube/Skateistan
Over 50% of Skateistan’s students are girls “People who say something against girl skaters don’t know that girls and boys have the equal right to skate.” – Mahdia*, Outreach student, Kabul Source: Skateistan.org
Make an Impact

Become a Citizen of Skateistan and make a difference!

The Citizens of Skateistan is a global community of students, staff, skaters and supporters who share the dream of empowering and educating youth through skateboarding. By donating $10 or more a month you become a Citizen and help make it possible for thousands of youth to attend the programs worldwide. Join the global community today!