In August 2021, the world watched as the government in Afghanistan fell. The country is now under a new regime and facing an uncertain future.
Until the start of August this year, Skateistan had been running programs in three cities in Afghanistan. As things started to change ever more quickly, we felt that the safest thing to do for our staff and students was to suspend our programs until things became a little clearer.
Many of you will have seen the scenes at Kabul airport as many Afghans tried to flee the country. At Skateistan, we wanted to support our staff to do whatever they felt was best for themselves and their families. These were hard choices to make. For those who felt they should leave, we supported their visa applications and did everything we could to facilitate their entry to the airport during the evacuation window. More than two thirds of our Afghan staff team, along with their family members, have left the country. We continue to support them to settle into their new lives around the world.
For those of you who know us well, you’ll know that Skateistan was founded in Afghanistan, on the streets of Kabul back in 2008. Afghanistan is in our DNA and our commitment to the children of the country has not changed. We hope we will be able to work again in Afghanistan, although we don’t yet know what sort of programs we’ll be able to run. Those staff members who chose to stay in Afghanistan remain employed by Skateistan and we hope they can be part of our future there.
Now it’s time for us to work out our next steps. We have the skills, the energy and the capacity to empower thousands of children through skateboarding and education. The crisis in Afghanistan has made us think about our model and how we can keep innovating so that as many children as possible can benefit from our creative programs. We’re excited to keep you updated about the new directions that Skateistan can take over the next few months.
Many of you reached out to us, in one of the hardest times we’ve ever faced, to tell us you were thinking of us. We have the best supporters in the world and we know that we can learn from the last few months and keep on growing. We hope that you’ll join us on this journey as we start to write the next chapter of our story.
Together, we can Keep Skateistan Rolling.
If you'd like to support our efforts to rebuild our community in Afghanistan, and to expand our programs around the world, you can donate here.