How do youth benefit from skateboarding?
Skateboarding is a non-competitive global sport requiring minimal supervision and resources. Achievements in skateboarding are individual and depend on balance, creativity, and personal expression. Skating can be practiced anywhere there is a smooth surface; it brings young people together to be active and communicative.
What are the benefits of skateboarding in Afghanistan?
Skateboarding is a widely-loved platform through which young men and women from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can engage positively with each other. Considering the country’s recent political history — not to mention its longstanding social barriers — Skateistan believes that the community-building effects of skateboarding will be especially visible in the countries we work in. Skateistan builds cross-cultural understanding and develops youth confidence, leadership, and life skills.
Was the community involved during construction of the Skate Schools?
Yes. Involving the local community was important for consent; Skateistan makes great efforts to operate in a culturally-sensitive and appropriate manner. In Australia, Europe, and the United States, it is common for local government, youth, parents, and community groups to work together to build safe, supervised, and youth-friendly skateboarding facilities. Watch how the Skate School was made in Johannesburg.
Can girls participate?
More than 40% of students are girls! Getting girls on a skateboard has been a priority since Skateistan's beginning. However, the NGO acknowledges that there are many obstacles to teaching females — and that is why it holds the support of the parents, local community and government in such high regard. Half of Skateistan's students are female, giving Afghanistan the highest rate of female participation in skateboarding out of any country in the world. They are taught on separate days at the park, by an all-female staff. In South Africa, Skateistan hopes to address the gender gap through their programs.
Can people with disabilities participate?
Yes. Skateistan works with youth living with a disability. The NGO involves these youth in their Skate and Create programs alongside partner organisations.
Are the students safe?
Skateistan's students skate in a supervised and secure private facility that is built and run with community consent; skateboarding activities are kept off the streets of Kabul as much as possible. The NGO's management is in regular communication with ANSO (Afghanistan NGO Safety Organisation), as well as with government and local community leaders, so that it receives regular security updates and conducts its activities safely.
Does the school provide free tuition?
Yes: this is essential, as most participants in the school cannot afford to pay for lessons. There are absolutely no costs incurred by students for any activities at the school, for example, all materials needed in the skatepark or the classroom are provided to students by the NGO. Additionally, Skateistan arranges transport for girls to make it easier and safer for them to attend.
Can I come skate/visit the Skate School?
Visits are generally not possible as we are a functioning school 6 days/week and have very little time to accommodate visitors (it is also disruptive for the classes). The Skate School is reserved for the students! If you are interested in enquiring about a visit for media purposes please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you plan to expand Skateistan to other countries?
Skateistan is growing all the time. We just opened a new Skate School in Johannesburg, South Africa! If you have a skateboarding project working with streetworking or at-risk youth hat you think could fit into a potential partnership with Skateistan please email your proposal to email@example.com. Only serious proposals will be considered, and the process of evaluation will take up to one year.