2015 was a big year for Skateistan internationally. Take a read of our annual report to find out the milestones, achievements and progressions from 2015.
MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
In 2015 the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, acknowledged Skateistan in his speech to US Congress.
“The opportunities for women are indeed changing. I’m sure that many of you have seen those stunning [Skateistan] videos of fathers proudly taking their shiny-eyed daughters to show off their new found skills in the ancient art of skateboarding.”
For Skateistan's work with Afghan girls to be mentioned in such a prominent forum is incredible and encouraging. I’m astonished to see how much Skateistan has grown since 2007, and, even more so, that skateboarding has proven over and over again its unique ability to make the world a better place. Skateboarding is one of the best types of education, since through it you are exposed to people with different ideas and from different backgrounds. You become part of a community that inspires and challenges you.
It’s been a memorable year for Skateistan. In February, Youth Leaders from Afghanistan had the opportunity to be the first Afghan representatives at an international Model UN conference in known history, hosted by THIMUN Qatar. Three of our Afghan staff members were invited by the UN Office for Sport for Development and Peace to take part in Youth Leadership camps in Germany and Sweden. And two of our young female staff members in Afghanistan were the first Afghan women to ever complete a 250km ultramarathon, along with Free to Run founder Stephanie Case in China’s Gobi Desert.
The Skateistan team dreams big, and ever since planning began for the construction of the new Skate School in South Africa, things have
been progressing every day. The Skateistan South Africa Skate School will be a place where children can access a modern education facility and the only skatepark in central Johannesburg. It will provide the infrastructure and leadership capacity to develop into a training hub for other Skateistan projects in South Africa and across the African continent.
Just like in Kabul in 2007, we begin every new Skateistan project with Outreach sessions in the local neighborhood and surrounding streets. It is an important first step and entry point for youth into our core programs like Skate and Create, Back-to-School and Youth Leadership. In 2015, the world’s first tuk tuk skate ramp was launched in Cambodia as an addition to Outreach sessions in some of the most at-risk communities in Phnom Penh and we also expanded to the southwest of Cambodia, reaching more at-risk youth in Sihanoukville through our programming.
On a global level, Skateistan continues to be recognized as a leader in the ‘Sport for Development’ field, winning the 2015 Laureus Sport for Good Award as well as being featured in the United Nations’ World Humanitarian Day campaign. I was really excited that the cover image chosen for the campaign was a picture taken by a former Skateistan student and current staff member in Kabul. As a skateboarder, it was also an honor to accept the Eric Stricker Memorial Award from Transworld Skateboarding Magazine this year on behalf of Skateistan. The amount of enthusiasm from the skateboarding community over the years has been phenomenal. Professional skateboarders like Tony Hawk, Jamie Thomas and Mimi Knoop have been active supporters, especially when launching our new monthly donor club – Citizens of Skateistan. Every Skateistan student, staff member and monthly supporter is a Citizen; we are all part of this international community that shares a dream of empowering youth through skateboarding and education.
By the end of 2015 Skateistan was reaching over 1500 youth and more than 40% girls each week at our Skate Schools and at Outreach locations in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. The stories I hear from our students about how skateboarding has changed their lives always surprise me. Some have been the first in their families to go to school and many of them show an exceptional dedication to learning by returning to Skateistan every week. They all have inspiring stories to tell, and I am very pleased to share a few special ones with you in this Annual Report.
Thank you to every Citizen of Skateistan for joining our community and helping us reach more at-risk youth across the globe! I would also like to thank all of Skateistan’s supporters for believing in the power of skateboarding and education to change kids’ lives. Without your support, we would not have achieved such incredible things in 2015, and I look forward to what the future holds.
Founder & Executive Director - Skateistan
ANNUAL REPORT ARCHIVE: