Skateistan is an award-winning international nonprofit organization that uses skateboarding and education for youth empowerment. Over 1500 youth, aged 5-17, attend Skateistan’s programs every week in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Through their innovative programs, Skate and Create, Back-To-School and Youth Leadership, Skateistan aims to give youth the opportunity to become leaders for a better world.
- We work with youth ages 5-17
- Over 50% of our students are street-working children
- Over 40% of our students are girls
- Globally, more than 1500 youth attend our programs each week
Skateboarding is one of the best types of education you can get, as it is learning through play. Thanks to skateboarding youth are exposed to people of different ethnicities, gender and beliefs. It provides you with a community to inspire, guide and challenge the participator. It also teaches you how to be creative with your ideas and it provides the outlets for that creativity.
In Afghanistan it is considered inappropriate for girls to ride bikes, but with skateboarding there is no stigma attached to it. In the skate park, youth from different backgrounds are able to form strong friendships and the novelty of skateboarding, compared to more mainstream sports, has been especially enticing for at-risk youth.
WHO DO WE REACH?
Skateistan’s programs are provided to at-risk youth, in particular:
Gender based inequality is an important social issue that Skateistan aims to address by including as many girls as possible in their programs. Over 40% of registered students are female, and Afghanistan has the highest percentage of female skateboarders in the world. Skateistan offers girls-only sessions at all of their Skate Schools!
By using skateboarding as a tool for engagement, Skateistan aims to provide better opportunities for the future of these youth.
Youth living with disability
Skateboarding is accessible for youth with physical disabilities, as it can be practiced in some form by virtually anyone. The ability to take part in sport and creative activities, as part of Skate and Create, builds their confidence, selfesteem, and provides platforms for selfexpression.
For children of migration backgrounds there are many obstacles to accessing education. Skateistan works with internally displaced youth, nomadic communities, economic migrants and refugees.
CURRENT SKATE SCHOOLS
- Kabul (2007-present)
- Phnom Penh (March 2011-present, two facilities)
- Mazar-e-Sharif (May 2013-present)
- Johannesburg (January 2014-present)
Founder & Executive Director
2007 - present
Oliver Percovich came to Kabul in February 2007, bringing his skateboards with him. Since early 2008 he has worked full-time in Afghanistan to establish and build the Afghan NGO Skateistan and several related entities/projects worldwide. Oliver has created the organizational vision and handles major donor relations, worldwide management of projects and policies, and represents Skateistan in frequent media interviews, presentations and conferences.
Oliver is Kabul-based and can be contacted at email@example.com or +93 796 571 356
Former Deputy Director
March 2008 - March 2012
Max Henninger initially started as a volunteer for Skateistan, helping with media relations and administration in the project's early days. He began full-time as the Media & Communications Director in January 2009 and spent the following two years working alongside Oliver in Afghanistan, eventually becoming Deputy Director. Max has since moved on from the project to be with his family in Southern Germany. His skills and longterm commitment were essential to the NGO's worldwide recognition and success.
Former Project Officer
January 2008 - March 2010 (part-time volunteer)
Sharna Nolan was involved in Skateistan at various points between 2008 and 2010, and also participated in some initial skateboard sessions in 2007 in Kabul, where she was working at the time. She provided periodic volunteer assistance from her home in Australia with proposal writing and outreach for the project, and assisted on the ground for approximately three months. Sharna also came to Afghanistan on two occasions to participate in documentaries about Skateistan: for two weeks to take part in the filming of "Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul" and again while "To Live and Skate Kabul" was filmed in January 2010.