Skateistan has proven that the power of skateboarding can be a successful tool for youth development and education in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Due to the success at the first project site in Kabul, Skateistan has now turned its attention to the fourth largest city in Afghanistan, Mazar-e-Sharif.
Located in the North of Afghanistan, Skateistan Mazar-e-Sharif is almost three times the size of Skateistan Kabul, and aims to bring skateboarding and arts-based education to many more young Afghans starting in Spring 2013.
Skateistan’s newest project in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan received a huge facelift recently: Afghanistan’s biggest (and newest) rock climbing wall! German volunteers and climbing experts Martin Walch, Martina Messner and Elias Hitthaler spent nearly two weeks in Mazar-e-Sharif, overseeing and assisting in the building of the new wall.
Female students in Mazar counting fruit they collected during a scavenger hunt
In September, after several months of attending weekly skateboarding classes alongside taking part in various art projects, students at Skateistan Mazar began their first complete semester unit. Alongside their peers in Phnom Penh and Kabul, students in Mazar will be focusing the next several months on nutrition and sanitation.
Many children in Mazar have been able to experience the excitement of standing on a board for the first time.
It’s been a few months since the first skateboard demo ever in Mazar-e-Sharif, and over time this traditional yet modern urban centre in northern Afghanistan has embraced skateboarding as its latest passtime. More than 100 students are already attending classes each week. Girls come for skating, sports and art on Sundays and Tuesdays, taught by female instructors, and boys are taught by male instructors on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The Skateistan Mazar-e-Sharif facility is made up of three buildings - the Multi-sports Hall (left), Education Centre (centre) and Skatepark (right).
In the Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, Skateistan has now opened its new three-part facility: a standalone Skatepark, a Multi-sports Hall, and a prominent three-story Education Centre made out of refurbished shipping containers that have been sourced from within Afghanistan. Upon entry through the front gate, the eye-catching education building takes centre stage, demonstrating that learning is at the heart of all Skateistan activities.
Every June 21 since 2009, Skateistan celebrates International Go Skateboarding Day, along with millions of other skateboarders around the world. In both Afghanistan and Cambodia, kids and staff have taken to the streets on their skateboards to share their love of skateboarding and common identity with people of all backgrounds.
In 2007 the Skateistan project began in the streets of Kabul, introducing skateboarding to girls and boys in Afghanistan for the first time. Since then, Skateistan has offered skateboarding lessons paired with educational programs to thousands of Afghan children. On May 23, Skateistan will open the doors of its second facility in Afghanistan, giving up to 1000 children in Mazar-e-Sharif the chance to play and learn in a state-of-the-art sport and education facility, nearly three times the size of Skateistan Kabul.
Mazar-e-Sharif is a special place in Afghanistan. Centered around the spectacular blue-tiled mosque, known as the Shrine of Hazrat Ali or simply “the blue-mosque,” Afghanistan’s 4th largest city will soon boast another landmark, at least in the eyes of the children.
Mazar-e-Sharif (MeS) will provide the location for Skateistan’s 2nd skatepark in Afghanistan and most ambitious project yet: a three-part, multifunctional facility dedicated to Skateistan’s sport and educational activities.
Skateistan is currently seeking a Programs Officer (Kabul) and Programs Officer (Mazar-e-Sharif) to join our team in Afghanistan. The position is for an Afghan national, and female applicants are encouraged. Start date would be immediately and applicants should be interested in long-term employment.