About Us

"I ALWAYS LIKE TO GO HIGH ON THE RAMPS. When I'm up there I feel free, like I'm flying. I like that feeling a lot.“

HANIFA, 14, AFGHAN SKATER

 
What is Skateistan?

SKATEISTAN
IS A NON-PROFIT
ORGANISATION
USING SKATEBOARDING
AS A TOOL FOR
EMPOWERMENT

Over 40% of our students are girls. We work with youth ages 5-25. Over 60% of our students are low-income youth.

Why Skateboarding?
What next?

GET OUR NEWSLETTER

 

 

Skateistan began as a grassroots 'Sport for Development' project on the streets of Kabul in 2007, and is now an award-winning, international NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) with projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Skateistan is the first international development initiative to combine skateboarding with educational outcomes. Skateistan is non-political, independent, and inclusive of all ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds.

Skateistan aims to always be an innovative social project with quality.

  • We work with youth ages 5-18
  • Over 50% of our students are streetworking children
  • 40% of our students are girls
     

MISSION STATEMENT

We use skateboarding as a tool for empowering youth, to create new opportunities and the potential for change. 


VISION

To grow a sustainable organization that is recognized locally & globally for changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of youth through skateboarding and quality programmes – creating leaders that change the world.


​VALUES

quality. ownership. creativity. trust. respect. equality.


WHAT WE DO:

  • provide access to education
  • focus especially on girls and working children
  • develop leadership opportunities
  • build friendship, trust, and social capital
     

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 non-profit 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 skatepark 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. The non-profit skateboarding charity has constructed the two largest indoor sport facilities in Afghanistan, and hosts the largest female sporting organization (composed of female skateboarders). Skateistan believes that when youth come together to skateboard and play, they forge bonds that transcend social barriers. Furthermore, through creative education classes the youth are enabled to explore issues that are important to them.


BEYOND SKATEBOARDING

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 skateboard-based development activities to include full-time programming for Cambodian youth in Phnom Penh, a state-of-the-art learning/skateboarding centre in Mazar-e-Sharif, Northern Afghanistan, and a project for youth in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

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, exploring topics such as environmental health, culture/traditions, natural resources, and peace.  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.


CURRENT PROJECTS

ORIGINAL MEMBERS

Oliver Percovich
Founder & Executive Director
2007 - present

Oliver Percovich came to Kabul in February 2007, bringing his skateboards with him. Since early 2008 he has worked full-time in Afghanistan to establish and build the Afghan NGO Skateistan and several related entities/projects worldwide. Oliver has created the organizational vision and handles major donor relations, worldwide management of projects and policies, and represents Skateistan in frequent media interviews, presentations and conferences.

Oliver is Kabul-based and can be contacted at oliver@skateistan.org or +93 796 571 356
Max Henninger
Former Deputy Director
March 2008 - March 2012

Max Henninger initially started as a volunteer for Skateistan, helping with media relations and administration in the project's early days. He began full-time as the Media & Communications Director in January 2009 and spent the following two years working alongside Oliver and Shams in Afghanistan, eventually becoming Deputy Director. Max has since moved on from the project to be with his family in Southern Germany. His skills and longterm commitment were essential to the NGO's worldwide recognition and success.
Shams Razi
Former Afghan Country Manager
March 2007 - October 2011

Shams Razi was one of the very first skateboarders in Afghanistan, being among the first group who spent afternoons skating with Oliver. Shams was involved for a year as an occasional volunteer and came on as a full-time employee in mid-2008. He worked his way up from being a fixer and translator to the first Afghan Country Manager. In late 2011 Shams got his long-awaited Visa for Australia where he is now studying Computer Science. Shams was involved in Skateistan through many ups and downs, and his skills in negotiation, conflict resolution, and logistics were an enormous asset to Skateistan.
Sharna Nolan
Former Project Officer
January 2008 - March 2010 (part-time volunteer)

Sharna Nolan was involved in Skateistan at various points between 2008 and 2010, and also participated in some initial skateboard sessions in 2007 in Kabul, where she was working at the time. She provided periodic volunteer assistance from her home in Australia with proposal writing and outreach for the project, and assisted on the ground for approximately three months. Sharna also came to Afghanistan on two occasions to participate in documentaries about Skateistan: for two weeks to take part in the filming of "Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul" and again while "To Live and Skate Kabul" was filmed in January 2010.

Miniramp at Skateistan Kabul

GET OUR NEWSLETTER

"Skateistan is the epitome of what skating is all about. I honestly share in the excitement those kids feel!"

TONY HAWK
PRO SKATER &
SKATEISTAN AMBASSADOR

OUR MISSION:

We use Skateboarding as a tool for empowering youth, to create new opportunities and the potential for change.