Kabul is the location of the first Skateistan project site and the center of the majority of project activities and events. Skateistan’s Kabul facility is the flagship location for our youth development programs, including skateboarding, sports, and education inside a facility that houses Afghanistan’s very first skatepark and indoor climbing wall.
Skateistan recently celebrated its 5th anniversary at the Kabul skatepark with 550 students, staff, alumni, families, officials, community members and supporters. The event was entirely organized and run by Skateistan youth leaders, including some who were our very first students in 2009. Click the image to see more photos!
In 2013 and 2014 British photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson visited the Skateistan projects in Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. In a video just released by the BBC World Service, she talks to Dan Damon about 'Skate Girls of Kabul'. The first photo ‘Skate Girl’ is shortlisted for the National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Watch the video here.
The Back-to-School boys practise reading aloud in class
While last year’s Back-To-School students in Kabul are now attending Afghan government schools as fourth graders, this year’s students have finished their first semester and are beginning second grade. The program’s 20 boys and 20 girls are very excited to become fully literate.
A female student studies a detailed map of Afghanistan during the mapping semester.
After finishing the 11th semester on colours, Skateistan Kabul started the new semester on mapping. This semester included different activities, games, online learning, drawing, spray painting the walls of Skateistan, and many more things that we can’t say in one or two pages...
Every June 21 since 2009, Skateistan celebrates International Go Skateboarding Day, along with millions of other skateboarders around the world. In both Afghanistan and Cambodia, kids and staff have taken to the streets on their skateboards to share their love of skateboarding and common identity with people of all backgrounds.
In spring 2011 Skateistan offered its students a specialized film class. Four of those who chose to sign up didn’t yet realize they had taken the first steps to create the dramatic masterpiece ‘Skateistan Break’ – the first student-produced homage to ‘Prison Break’, possibly ever.
Classes covered a range of fundamental filmmaking techniques, including classical camera techniques, the importance of multiple angles, and how to develop characters and atmosphere through particular shots.
Throughout the 8-week course the students mastered the art of story telling via the medium of film, eventually deciding to create their own film.
From this moment on four students - Sulaiman, Hamdullah, Haroon and Karim embarked on a two year long cinematic adventure. The group developed their plot via storyboards, meticulously planning each scene that would tell the story of 'Skateistan Break'. Once they had finished filming, the team proceeded with the next phase of production – to edit, translate and dub over their film. The product of their journey is 'Skateistan Break', a 10m44s film which is 100% a Skateistan student creation.
Every June 21 since 2009, Skateistan celebrates International Go Skateboarding Day, along with millions of other skateboarders around the world. In both Afghanistan and Cambodia, kids have taken to the streets on their skateboards to share their love of skateboarding and common identity with people of all backgrounds.
This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the holiday, which is celebrated through fundraisers, contests, demos, and skate parades through the streets. If you are organizing or joining a Go Skate Day event this year, consider supporting Skateistan's work with vulnerable children by donating or holding a fundraiser. This could be as simple as putting out a donation jar, having a raffle, or donating part of skate contest entry fees. If you'd like to learn more or get a fundraising kit, just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the recently concluded semester themed around colour the students were taken on a field trip to Turquoise Mountain Foundation.
In the summer of 2010, Faranaz was chosen to take part in a Skateistan photojournalism project called 'Through My Eyes'. This gave her a voice, which she used to talk about her past and present home life outside of Skateistan. In the summer of 2011, one year after this film project was completed, Faranaz left Kabul permanently, when her family made the move north to a village near Mazar-e-Sharif at the insistence of her older brother. By January 2012 she was engaged. The 'Through My Eyes' project gives a glimpse into her life, as a 13-year-old girl living in Kabul. It is at once a very personal story, and one that contains shadows of the lives of millions of other young women living in Afghanistan today.
Drawing from the ‘Through my eyes’ project and personal interviews, Faranaz’s story is shared at greater length in the Skateistan book ‘Skateistan – The Tale of Skateboarding in Afghanistan’.
Purchase your own copy now on Amazon, with 100% of profits going to Skateistan's programming for youth in Afghanistan and Cambodia.