Although Skateistan began as an Afghan NGO, it has become a worldwide phenomenon involving people all around the world.
Skateistan has approximately 40 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 is Cambodia-based and can be contacted at: email@example.com or +93 785 733 739
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 is currently Afghanistan-based: firstname.lastname@example.org or +93 789 122 064
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 email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or +93 785 979 344
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 Manager in July 2013. Talia holds a diploma in Journalism, and a BA in International Development Studies from the University of Calgary. She has many years experience doing public health education for youth/adults at a non-profit in her hometown of Calgary, Canada. She has also coached gymnastics and skateboarding for youth of all ages.Talia is Afghanistan-based and can be contacted at email@example.com.
Duncan grew up skating the rain soaked granite streets of North East Scotland. He studied Astronomy and Physics at the University of Glasgow and obtained his PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics in 2009. Duncan first became involved in Skateistan once he moved to Berlin in 2011. In July he became a volunteer at Skateistan Kabul, helping with his impressive knowledge of media to get the stories of Skateistan out there. He is now the global Communications Manager.
Duncan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or +49 (30) 914 921 01
Alix grew up in Ontario, Canada and first joined Skateistan in August 2012 as a volunteer Programs Officer in Cambodia. In July 2013 Alix became the global Development Manager for Skateistan, and is based in Phnom Penh. 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 is Cambodia-based and can be contacted at email@example.com or +855 (0) 78 40 00 19
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
Office Assistant (Intern)
Anne was born in Berlin and grew up there being interested in all kinds of sports from early age on. She learned how to skate as a young girl, but also played Basketball for 15 years. She graduated as a Sports Scientist at the University of Potsdam and became interested in Sport for Development during her studies. Anne joined the Skateistan Team as an Intern to gain more experience in this field.
Anne is Berlin-based and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or +49 (30) 914 921 01.
|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.
Gurusewak was born in Seattle, Washington, but spent the majority of his childhood and adolescence in Dangnashir, India. He holds a Master’s degree in Psychology and has been skateboarding for 15 years. Gurusewak worked in Afghanistan for two years in child psychology and development before joining the Skateistan team as Operations Manager in Mazar-e-Sharif.
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 one year 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.
Sport and Education Coordinator
Zainab was born in Esfahan, Iran, before moving back to Afghanistan with her family at the age of 14. She obtained a diploma in Photography and Journalism from NIIT in Mazar-e-Sharif, and has spent several years since working to improve the lives of women and girls in Afghanistan. She has worked as a Back-to-School teacher, served as a program leader with Women for Women International, and has trained in both basketball and Taekwondo before coming to work with Skateistan as a Sport Coordinator and Student Administrator. Her ultimate goal in life is to improve the lives of women, and she is pleased to have the opportunity to work and play with Skateistan.
Part-Time Classroom Teacher
Nelofar was born in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, and grew up in Pakistan. She will graduate from high school in 2014. Nelofar is a part-time classroom teacher 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.”
Part-Time Classroom Teacher
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.”
Volunteer Project Officer
Leila comes to Skateistan from San Francisco, CA where she recently obtained her BA in Philosophy and Religion. She has worked as an after-school tutor in both the US and Ghana, and also served as a women’s self-defense instructor for the Women’s Assistance Business Association in Adenta, Ghana. She has been skateboarding for several years and looks forward to improving her skating alongside Afghanistan’s students. Leila arrived as a Skateistan volunteer in June 2013.Leila can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally from Austria, Mark now lives in Hamburg, Germany. Mark started skating at age 12. He is currently studying Media Technology and recently spent three months running a TV studio in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. He came on as a project volunteer for Skateistan in Kabul in June 2012 and is now an Operations Officer, assisting in project setup and management.
Mark 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.
All general inquiries about the Skateistan Cambodia project should be directed to Benji, who can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or +855 (0) 77 367 227
Chada was born in Cambodia and graduated in Business Administration at the NGO PSE in 2010. He is now working as the Operations Officer for Skateistan Cambodia. He says: “I am the first person who was interested in skateboarding in Cambodia but I have just been skating since the beginning of 2011 in Phnom Penh City. Through skateboarding I would like to help street children, I want to give them hope both in education and in sport.”
Chada can be contacted at email@example.com or +855 (0) 12 691 054
|Kov Chansangva (Tin)
Skate and Programs Assistant
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or +855 (0) 89 953 154
Norng Srey Moch (Nhoeun)
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Henrik Bjelke Hansen
Henrik got involved with Skateistan in 2008 when he was writing his master’s thesis in Afghanistan. Among other things he provided advice on organization, budgeting and strategy. He is currently based in Denmark where he has founded a national Skateistan entity that is organizing a series of grant-scale fundraising events (www.skateistan.dk).
Henrik can be contacted at email@example.com or +45 23 11 21 52
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
|Alexandra Bald & Ana Lessing
Artistic Directors, Board of Directors
Alexandra Bald and Ana Lessing are Berlin-based designers and artists supporting Skateistan since the early days. They are Skateistan´s artistic directors and founded the art-project Once Upon a Time which started at Skateistan Kabul.
They can be contacted at email@example.com or +49 162 130 66 19
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Joel initiated the project Skate to Kabul with the goal of connecting Swiss youth with the kids of Skateistan. In autumn 2010 Joel spent six weeks in Kabul, working with the kids on the exchange and doing photography/video for Skateistan. Joel is studying interaction‐management / post‐industrial design at the University of Applied Science in Basel.
Joel can be contacted about how to support Skateistan from Switzerland 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 has an MSc in Theory and History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and an MSc in Political Science from University of Copenhagen. He visited Kabul in January 2011, and recently helped Skateistan achieve charitable status in the United Kingdom where he is currently a representative.
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.