Skateistan is the first indoor skateboarding facility in Kabul, Afghanistan, boasting 800 square meters of interior space, which is used primarily as a skateboarding school for youth. Located on 3,000 square meters of donated land the facility includes outdoor areas for football, cricket, volleyball, and a playground with ample seating and trees for shade. Where possible, materials were sourced locally, while the remaining materials were imported to ensure a specific quality of construction. IOU Ramps have provided material lists and will supervise and build the ramps in the indoor facility. The outdoor section acts to create a public space for all Kabul residents and encourages citizens of all ages to interact with each other.
The Skateistan program teaches students skills in skateboarding as well as computers, English literacy and life skills. After skateboarding, students participate in specialized classes that build confidence, leadership and teamwork, while reviving Afghan culture through traditional games and activities. Experts in skateboarding, Afghan culture, youth development and the arts are invited to teach classes and provide community demonstrations. Operating 6 days per week, the Skateistan skateboarding school has multiple sessions per day of up to 30 students. Mobile skateboarding classes have also been developed to offer new opportunities in physical education for schools, orphanages and youth orientated organizations.
Skateistan is Afghanistan’s first co-educational skateboarding school. Established in May 2007, the program offers free skateboarding classes for all youth in Kabul through a team of dedicated international and Afghan volunteers. With funding assistance from the governments of Germany, Norway and Canada, the new skatepark allowed us to reach over 500 students in 2009. Skateistan targets young girls and boys between 5 - 17 years from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Our aim is to build cross-cultural communication and understanding between different Afghan ethnicities and international volunteers in a fun, educational and positive environment. By showing the world happy and healthy Afghan youth, we hope to help create a positive voice for Afghan youth locally as well as globally.
The key objective was to build a skateboarding facility in Kabul as an international showpiece. The facility was designed by Convic Design, built to international standards by IOU Ramps in Khai Kahana, on the Salang Pass round. This facility will operate year-round and will be supervised by international and Afghan skateboarding volunteer instructors. Instruction in ramp building will be provided by IOU Ramps for building additional skateboarding schools.
Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul is a beautifully shot film that follows the lives of a group of young skateboarders in Afghanistan. Operating against the backdrop of war and bleak prospects, the Skateistan charity project is the world’s first co-educational skateboarding school, where a team of international volunteers work with girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 17, an age group largely untouched by other aid programmes.
BY ORLANDO VON EINSIEDEL