Although Skateistan began as an Afghan NGO, it has become a worldwide phenomenon involving people all around the world.
Skateistan has approximately 50 staff worldwide, and dozens more volunteers.
Founder & Executive Director
Oliver Percovich first skated in an empty pool at the age of six, while growing up in Papua New Guinea. In 1995 he competed in the Mystic Cup, an international skateboarding contest in Prague. He's worked at the Center for Risk and Community Safety on emergency management projects for various Australian government departments. He came to Kabul in February 2007, bringing his skateboards with him.
Oliver can be contacted at email@example.com.
Brandon Gomez started skateboarding when he was 14 years old. Originally from the Philadelphia area, he earned a B.S. in Communications Media from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and recently obtained his Masters in Media Studies from Syracuse University. He has also worked with children of all ages for years. Since June 2011 he has been pushing the students in the skatepark and providing operations direction in Afghanistan and Cambodia.
Brandon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhianon arrived at Skateistan in Kabul as a volunteer in May 2010 to train up Afghan female skateboarding instructors and is now Skateistan's Development Director. She worked for several years as a journalist in Vancouver, Canada, writing/editing for magazines and blogs. She holds a diploma in Journalism, a B.A. in Political Science with International Relations (Hons.), has been a skateboarder for over 15 years, and was a certified skateboarding instructor in Canada for three years.
Rhianon can be contacted at email@example.com.
Claire grew up in Wellington, New Zealand but also spent parts of her childhood in Germany and the United States. At University Claire gained a Bachelor of Commerce (Accountancy) and a Bachelor of Arts (German) before working as an Accountant for a public practice. After obtaining her Chartered Accountancy, Claire left New Zealand to explore overseas. In February 2012 she joined the Skateistan team after settling in Berlin, where she has taken over the position of Financial Officer.
Claire is Berlin-based and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or +49 (30) 914 921 01.
Rory comes to Skateistan from California, USA and has served as a collegiate lacrosse coach for the last eight years at Chapman University, where he recently earned a Masters Degree in International Studies, focusing on Sport for Development projects worldwide. Originally from Colorado, Rory has been involved in skateboarding since childhood. He put to use his coaching and teaching skills firstly as a volunteer at Skateistan Cambodia in 2010/2011, and now works as the HR Director for Skateistan International.
Rory can be contacted at email@example.com.
Talia started out as a Skateistan volunteer in Phnom Penh in September 2012, and has since worked at both Afghan project sites, becoming our global Programs Director in November 2013. Talia holds a diploma in Journalism, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies from the University of Calgary. She has many years experience doing public health education for youth and adults at a non-profit in her hometown of Calgary, Canada. She has also coached gymnastics and skateboarding for youth of all ages. She is glad to be able to combine her passion for community education with her love of skateboarding.Talia can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alix grew up in Canada and first joined Skateistan in 2012 as a volunteer Programs Officer in Cambodia. In July 2013 Alix became the global Development Manager for Skateistan. She holds an undergraduate degree in International Development with a focus on environmental issues from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. She has worked with children of all ages in a variety of sports, and loves traveling. Alix has been skateboarding since 2006.
Alix can be contacted at email@example.com
Erika first became involved with Skateistan as a volunteer in Afghanistan for the second half of 2010. A skateboarder since 2004, she put her management, coaching and skateboard skills to use in Kabul as Education Coordinator. Since leaving Afghanistan she has become the worldwide Fundraising Manager for Skateistan International. Born in Canada, she is currently living in Berlin, Germany, working on a M.A in English Language, Literature and Culture at the Freie Universitaet Berlin.
Erika is Berlin-based and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris first became involved with Skateistan as a volunteer in October 2012, assisting the Kabul project in Logistics & Management Training, as well as training the local skateboarding instructors. In July 2013 Chris became the Brand Manager for Skateistan, with the aim of increasing sustainable funding to the projects through the social brand. He holds a Commercial Apprenticeship and has earned a B.Sc. in Economics from Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, where he grew up. Chris has been skating for 13 years.
Manuel became a part of the Skateistan team shortly after the HQ settled in Berlin. He grew up in Bavaria, but moved to Berlin in order to study Computer Engineering. Prior to that he lived in Australia for one year where he worked in the IT department of an educational institution. In the years before he worked for big businesses, so working for Skateistan is a totally new and joyful experience. Manuel uses his skills and knowledge to maintain and develop various IT-related projects.
Manuel is Berlin-based and can be contacted at email@example.com
Mark joined Skateistan first in Winter 2010 as a volunteer Skatepark Manager in Kabul. Now he is based in Mazar-e-Sharif as Operations Manager. Mark holds a Masters degree in Islamic Studies and Geography from Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany where he lived the last couple of years. His Master's thesis was on the development of civil society in Afghanistan. While studying, he also worked as a Project Manager for incentive events. Mark has been skating for more than 12 years now.
Mark can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan started out at Skateistan as a graphic design volunteer in the winter of 2013 at the HQ in Berlin. He is currently working to finish his Bachelor's degree in Visual Communication at Lahti Institute of Design in Finland. As a freelance graphic designer since 2008, he has worked mostly with NGOs and non-profit organisations. He finds print, and especially editorial and book design interesting. In the future he wants to expand into motion graphics or become a fine carpenter.
Jan can be contacted at email@example.com
Stephen was born in Nuremberg, southern Germany. After his studies in Business he spent some time working in the non-profit sector and decided to continue his professional career working in development. The position as an Office Assistant at Skateistan is now the first step on this road.
Stephen is Berlin-based and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guillaume grew up in France and has been living in Berlin for the past 5 years. Since first moving to Germany, he has graduated with a Masters degree from the University of Applied Sciences (HTW Berlin) in International and Development Economics and has worked in fundraising and development as a consultant. Guillaume also has experience working as a teacher and as a radio reporter for Radio Principe Actif.
|Abdul Qudos Amini
Site Operations Manager
Abdul was born in Pakistan and grew up in the Jowzjan province of Afghanistan. He recently acquired his Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) from the National Institute of Management and Administration in Kabul. He began volunteering with Skateistan in December 2009 and now works as the Site Operations Manager for Skateistan Kabul.
Abdul can be contacted at email@example.com or +93 796 292 012
Finance & HR Officer
Mariam was born in Kabul and grown up in Pakistan. She studied Psychology and Educational Sciences at Kabul University. She used to work as a project accountant and administrator in a company. Although she began as a volunteer in early 2011, she started working at Skateistan in May 2012 because of her passion for the program. She is very interested in skateboarding, as well as cricket.
Mariam can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Treena was born in Kabul, she holds a BA degree in Psychology and Education from Kabul University. She is also one of very few Afghan women with a driving license. Treena began at Skateistan as the Education Assistant and Back-to-School Program Manager, and is now the Programs Officer for Skateistan Kabul. She joined Skateistan in May 2012 due to her deep interest in sport and especially using sport for Afghan youth empowerment.
Treena can be contacted at email@example.com
Student Support Officer
Fatima was born in Kabul on December 3, 1963 and has lived there all her life. She completed grade 12 at Inqlab high school. Fatima has worked as a teacher since 2003 and was hired in May 2011 as Skateistan's Student Support Officer. She recruits, registers, teaches, and supervises Skateistan's students. She is the family and community liaison. She says "I feel very comfortable with Skateistan, and with the job I have I am also trying to help the poor kids so I am always in touch with their families."
To register at Skateistan, contact Fatima at +93 774 713 195
Maintenance Manager and Sport Coordinator
Merza has been skateboarding for nearly five years and is now one of Afghanistan’s most talented skaters. He has been working at the Skateistan park as a Skate Instructor since January 2010 and became the Maintenance Manager in summer 2011. He comes from Shamoli, Afghanistan.
Skate Instuctor and Maintenance Crew
Born and raised in Kabul, Hanifa has been skateboarding at Skateistan since 2010 and has been with the team since 2011, firstly as a volunteer and then as staff. Hanifa is 14 years old and has currently completed school up until the fourth grade. She is very keen on teaching skateboarding to her peers. She hopes to become a better skateboarder and continue working with Skateistan in the future.
Rahmattullah was born in Pakistan and grew up in Kabul. He loves football and has played for Afghanistan’s National U15 team. After first arriving at Skateistan as a student in 2009, Rahmat soon became a volunteer teacher in the classrooms, where he was able to share his passion for learning with other youth at Skateistan. Upon graduating from school in 2012, Rahmat joined Skateistan as a full time member of the staff, teaching the Back to School boys' class and helping the education team with administration. On his experience with the organization, Rahmat says “Skateistan has changed my life”.
Skate and Classroom Instructor
Madina's dream is to one day be a pilot, but for now she is very happy to learn new skills as a teacher for her peers in the Skateistan classrooms and skatepark. The 14-year-old has been skating since 2010 and began working with Skateistan in early 2012. She also runs her own market stall at a Women's Market in Kabul that happens each month, putting her excellent English skills to good use. Madina is also a top student at her school and was the youngest presenter at the TEDxKabul event in 2012.
Tamana is from Kabul and has been attending Skateistan since June 21, 2010, when she joined our Annual Go Skateboarding Day event with her younger sister and later registered as a student. She's known for her speed on a skateboard and infectious laugh. Tamana is 12 years old and has been volunteering as a skate instructor since summer 2012.
13-year-old Shogofa was born in Pakistan and spent her childhood in Kabul. She is an intelligent 5th grader at school and wants to be a doctor in the future. She came to Skateistan two and a half years ago as a student, became a volunteer and now teaches skate classes. She wishes to be the best skater in the world.
Education Assistant and Sport Coordinator
20-year-old Shabana grew up in Kabul, but she also spent some of her childhood in Pakistan. She graduated from Lame Shahid High School and attended Skateistan classes regularly while she was studying. She has been working with Skateistan as a volunteer since June 2010 and is now a part time program assistant while she continues her studies in Computer Engineering at TTTA institute in Kabul. Shabana would like to work with people from all over the world and travel to different countries.
Skate Instructor and Cleaner
Growing up in Kabul and now living in Qala e Zaman Khan, Farid came to Skateistan in 2010 and has been a regular student ever since. He can speak Dari, Pashto and English and is now a volunteer for boys skate classes.
Hamdullah works in the Media department at Skateistan in Kabul as the Local Communications Officer and believes Skateistan is a place that can give people hope for their future. He can speak Pashto, Dari, Urdu and English and studied Mobile Engineering and Calligraphy. Hamdullah won the UNESCO drawing award in 2011, and he hopes to become a journalist or action film director. He also enjoys acting and having fun with his family and friends.
Apart from Skating, Sulaiman likes to play football and volleyball. He grew up in Kabul and joined Skateistan in 2009 as a student, became a volunteer and is now an instructor. Besides teaching, he is interested in Skateistan’s film class. Sulaiman can speak Pashto, Dari and English and aims to become a politician to serve his country.
Mohammad was born in Pakistan, grew up in Kabul and now lives in Behehisar where he has graduated from school and has learned to speak English, Pashto, Dari and a little Urdu. He came to Skateistan in 2009, has developed a passion for skateboarding and also loves wheelchair basketball.
Buzurgmeher was born in Takhar, Afghanistan, and is currently a student in the Medical faculty of Aria University in Mazar-e-Sharif. Before coming to Skateistan, Buzurgmeher worked with another Afghan youth-serving NGO, where he gained experience in security and operations. In his spare time, Buzurgmeher enjoys exploring the provinces of Afghanistan and volunteering. He has volunteered with Playground Builders to build 32 playgrounds for children in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif. He began working with Skateistan in May 2013. Buzurgmeher loves working with children, and is happy to be a part of a team that works to increase their capacity.
Noorzai was born in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province. He saw a skateboard for the first time in Kabul's Macroyan fountain with Skateistan's founder, Ollie. He has been with Skateistan since the building of its first facilities, beginning first as a three-month volunteer and finally leaving work on the streets to become a staff skate teacher in Kabul. Noorzai’s favorite part of his job is helping the other kids, and he is excited to do so in his newest role as Sports Coordinator in Mazar-e-Sharif.
Nelofar was born in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, and grew up in Pakistan. She graduated from high school in 2014, and is now studying to become a doctor. Nelofar works full time in student administration and media, and is excited to learn skating and other sports. She is also excited to take part in Skateistan, and thinks it is good for students to learn new things that aren’t taught in government schools. “If we want to change the system of our life, maybe we should try with sports. With sports we can bring a big difference in our life.”
Mubaraka was born in Tehran, Iran, before moving to Afghanistan with her family when she was 8. She joined the Skateistan team as a volunteer in June 2013, and is now employed as a classroom teacher. On her experiece at Skateistan so far, Mubaraka explains, “When I started skating, my life changed, you should try it! When I come to Skateistan, my mind becomes fresh and I don’t worry about other things.”
Benafsha was born in the Faryab province of Afghanistan. She graduated from Balkh University with a degree in Economics in December 2013. She has worked for several years overseeing the protection of children’s rights for other youth organizations and also enjoys playing sports, writing, and painting in her spare time.
Student Support Officer
Shikuba was born and raised in Mazar-e-Sharif before she left for Kabul University to study Dari literature. She worked as a Dari teacher for several years in the past, and is now excited to help children in Afghanistan gain more access to sports and education in her new role as SSO at Skateistan Mazar.
Saeeda was born in Mazar-e-Sharif. She is currently studying at Balkh University. Saeeda loves working with children and has a strong sports background-she is on the Afghanistan National Ping-Pong team! Saeeda also enjoys playing badminton, climbing, and skating.
Zohra was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is currently studying Literature and Humanities at Balkh University. She has worked in finance for several years and is excited to expand her HR experience, improve her writing, and her skating. She dreams of traveling to the most remote regions of Afghanistan, and has already made it to 16 provinces of Afghanistan to help facilitate women’s rights trainings.
|Nazifa Khalil Yar
Nazifa was born in Pul-e-Khumari, Afghanistan. She is currently studying law at Mowlana University and aspires to be an incorruptible judge. She has been teaching for two years at several other organizations and loves to see her students learn. She joined the Skateistan Mazar team in November 2013.
Fraidon joined the Skateistan team as a volunteer in June 2013. He was hired on as a staff skate teacher only six months later due to his natural aptitude for skateboarding. His favorite trick is the kickflip, and he aspires to become a better skater so he can be a better teacher.
Part-time Skate Teacher
Farzad joined the Skateistan team as a volunteer in June 2013. He was hired as a part-time skate teacher in December of 2013. Farzad dreams of one day being a pro skater, and works towards this goal every day by pushing himself and the students in the skate park.
Zainab is 24 years old. She started working at the age of 15 and has sinced worked in aviation, with numerous back to school programs and is an enthusiastic advocator of women's rights. She came to Skateistan in 2013, starting out as a student administrator and sports coordinator. Zainab now coordinates all the education classes at Mazar-e-Sharif and says she is really happy to be working for Skateistan. In her free time Zainab also works as a journalist for a weekly local newspaper.Zainab can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris comes from Northern California and joined Skateistan as a volunteer in June of 2014. After graduating from California Polytechnic in 2012 with a Bachelor's of Landscape Architecture, Chris was hired by Site Design Group + California Skateparks, working on skatepark projects all over the United States. He has studied landscape architecture abroad in Italy and Mexico, and has been skateboarding for over 10 years.
Chris can be contacted at email@example.com.
Pisey was born in Cambodia in 1982. He holds two masters degrees, one in Photography and another in Law and Finance Development. Pisey has worked in numerous sectors including photography, communications, tourism, and international development. He was instrumental in helping Skateistan Cambodia establish NGO status. Pisey thinks that "Skateistan is an example of a way to integrate marginalized youth and to give them a role in the development of their country."
Operations Manager - Phnom Penh
Benjamin first began working with Skateistan to found Skateistan Cambodia in 2011. Before starting with Skateistan, Benji had been working in Cambodia for over four years as the Public Relations and Events Manager for an international NGO working with street-working children. He graduated with a higher technical marketing degree in Toulouse, France, in 2001. He was the first to bring skateboarding to a Cambodian school, in 2011. Benjamin was born in France, and spent 10 years living and skating in Marseille.
Benji can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or +855 (0) 77 367 227
|Kov Chansangva (Tin)
Tin was born in Cambodia and graduated from Derm Tkov high school in 2012. She is the Skate and Programs Assistant for Skateistan Cambodia. She began as a Skateistan student at a partner NGO called Tiny Toones. She says, “she is very happy that she can skateboard and work for Skateistan Cambodia and its focus on using skateboarding.” She really enjoys working with Skateistan and wants to help give street children a chance to do skateboarding in Cambodia.
Tin can be contacted at: email@example.com or +855 (0) 10 14 93 44
Skate and Classroom Instructor
Chansopheakna (Pheakna) was born in Cambodia. He graduated from PSE, majoring in Construction in 2012. He is now a Skate and Classrooms Instructor. He had been involved with skateboarding since 2011 through PSE. He said, "I think that skateboarding is the new sport in Cambodia, and when I play it, my stresses are released". Before joining Skateistan, he worked as a breakdance teacher at PSE. He likes to work with kids, and especially wants them to enjoy skateboarding as much as he does.
Chansopheakna can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or +855 (0) 89 953 154
Security Guard and Skate Instructor
Nup started with Skateistan In September 2012, when we first opened the doors to the new park and facility. Having never stood on a board before, he took full advantage of his access to the skatepark and quickly taught himself how to skate. Now he’s assisting with teaching classes, and on any given day Nup might be found helping the kids in the art class, registering new students, and pushing himself and the students in the park.
Theara came to Skateistan as an office intern from partner organization Pour un Sourire D'Enfant, where she studies business. Theara takes care of office administration, including student enrolment, data entry and some finances, as well as helping out with the occasional skate or art class. In her free time, she likes to read, listen to rap or classical music, play basketball, and is quickly learning to skate. In the future, Theara hopes to be a businesswoman, co-owning a resort and farm with her friends.
Theara can be contacted at email@example.com or +855 (0) 70 88 35 07
Judyna was born and raised to Cambodian parents who immigrated to Montreal, Canada post-war in 1983. She graduated in multimedia design in 2003 and has been working as a web designer up until her new position with Skateistan in June 2013. Her interests in Cambodia originate from listening to her parents retell their stories living through various periods of time in the country prior to their move, and the Ninja Turtles can be attributed to her discovery of skateboarding. She is very keen to help Skateistan develop their programs and put her creative skills to good use.
Judyna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Lauren Della Marta
Lauren grew up in Sydney, Australia and skated as a kid before getting into surfing and snowboarding. Her biggest passions apart from board sports are music, travel, photography, illustration and hot cups of tea. She aims to use her degrees in Media, Communications and Journalism and Graphic Design to help develop Skateistan’s projects in Cambodia and internationally.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Savourn has been with Skateistan Cambodia since the very beginning. Her daughter was one of our first students. At first Savourn was pretty scared of skateboards, but she wanted her daughter to try it because she knew our instructors were great role models. Savourn keeps the skatepark and guesthouse clean and tidy as well as cooking the occasional meal for the staff. Her signature dish is a delicious traditional Khmai noodle curry.
Part Time Classroom and Office Assistant
Introduced to Skateistan by her mother (above), 15-year-old Savody has been a skatepark regular for the past few years. She considers all the local and international staff her friends and is very happy to be helping out in the classroom and around the park. Savody is in grade ten and attends school 5 mornings a week. In the evenings she learns English. It’s her favourite subject and when she is older, she plans on becoming an English teacher herself.
Programs Officer Leila can be contacted at email@example.com
Ayanda grew up in Troyeville, Johannesburg, where he first rode a skateboard at the age of six. He since received his Bachelors of Commerce in Economics from the University of Pretoria followed by a supplementary year of Statistics. Ayanda was drawn to Skateistan because it combines all of his passions- skateboarding, education, and development. He is excited to begin his new role as Operations Officer and Skateistan South Africa's first staff member.
Ayanda can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Sizwe "Seas" Gambushe
Seas was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is passionate about learning, music, philosophy and more. Drawn to Skateistan by a fascination with skateboarding, Seas hopes to apply his knowledge of his home community in helping Skateistan South Africa develop its programs.
Kelly Murray was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and has been skating for 8 years. She has extensive experience in sports education, having worked in schools as a teaching assistant and sports coach, and in her current job as a sports coach at a gym. She also teaches Djembe drumming to young children, and volunteered at a children’s home. She received her diploma in sports management from ETA College and plans to put her knowledge and skills to good use in her new volunteer role with Skateistan South Africa.
Zean was born in Johannesburg, where he grew up skateboarding. Zean speaks five of South Africa’s eleven official languages, and has several years of experience using skateboarding as a youth and community development tool. In addition, Zean has an extensive background in helping others: from animal shelters to hospitals to youth programs, Zean looks to apply his experience and passion for altruism in assisting Skateistan’s newest project.
Skateistan has volunteers all around the world providing help with fundraising, legal, design, web and more. If you'd like to get involved with helping Skateistan from your own country check if there are others below that you can contact from your area. If you want to start fundraising in a country that isn't included on this page, or have a skateboarding-development project that needs support, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Simon arrived in Afghanistan in February 2010 and worked as a volunteer with Skateistan for one year. Simon has worked as a journalist, publisher and art director for eight years in Paris, where he now lives again since leaving Kabul. His goal is to connect Western European media with Skateistan. He has been skating for over 15 years.
Simon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Directors, Chairman
Markus helped found the German Skateistan association in 2009 on the request of Skateistan's Deputy Director, Max Henninger. When Sonja Eller resigned in 2011 Markus took over as chairman in the German entity. As an online-journalist he helps to keep the German website alive.
Markus can be contacted at email@example.com
|Søren Vester Haldrup
Søren is one of Skateistan’s veteran volunteers, and has been involved since 2009. In Copenhagen, Denmark, he helped coordinate some of Skateistan’s most successful fundraisers in 2010, which raised approximately 100,000 USD. Søren visited Kabul in January 2011, and has helped Skateistan achieve charitable status in the United Kingdom. Søren has a background in political science and is currently working for the UNDP in Tanzania.
All Skateistan UK questions and requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
United States of America
|Kristoffer Nilaus Tarp
US Board President
Kristoffer became involved with Skateistan while working for the European Union in Afghanistan as a political advisor. He organized the incredibly successful fundraising event at the Copenhagen Skatepark in February this year that raised approximately $60,000 USD towards the building of our first facility.
Kristoffer can be contacted at email@example.com
US Board Member
Niki is from Gary, Indiana, USA, and volunteered at Skateistan in Kabul from December 2010 until May 2011 as a teacher and Media Assistant. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a BA in Cinema & Television production and has lived in Los Angeles for the past 13 years working for companies such as DreamWorks SKG, and Nickelodeon/MTV Networks. She also started an organization that uses the filmmaking process as a form of art therapy.
Niki can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
US Board Member
Morgan is originally from Jupiter, Florida and is currently pursuing a B.F.A. in Photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She volunteered with Skateistan in Kabul in 2011 as an Art & Sports Coordinator. She has been skating for twelve years and has also played and coached football for many years. Morgan's an experienced event organizer and a pro at anything DIY (Do-It-Yourself).
US Board Member
Ray has been working in Afghanistan for several years. While working with one of Skateistan's partner companies in Afghanistan, Ray was introduced to the team at Skateistan and quickly became a supporter of the project. Orginally from New England, Ray is now an acting board member of the Skateistan U.S. entity, helping however he can in both the states and Kabul.
In Memory of Khalid, who will never be forgotten.