Skateistan is Afghanistan’s first skateboarding school, with separate teaching days for male and female students, as well as classes for the disabled. It is also one of very few recreational spaces for girls and young women in Kabul. The organization provides on-site loans of skateboarding equipment, shoes, and safety gear. Aside from skate lessons there are also classrooms where students explore a range of subjects, including art, health, information technology, and languages. Skateboarding has served as an activity around which Afghan youth of all ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds can be brought together. This interaction is further built upon through classroom projects, such as posters, theatre, photography and video. The students themselves decide what they want to learn, while Skateistan provides them with the resources and support they need to develop skills and tell their own stories.
A 2021 grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network supported Skateistan’s skateboarding and education programming in Afghanistan, which has empowered over 1,700 disadvantaged children across Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Bamyan. The funding went towards Skateistan’s innovative programs, including: Outreach, Skate and Create, Back to School, Youth Leadership and Dropping In. The Outreach program helps enroll some of the hardest-to-reach youth into Skateistan’s programs, while the flagship Skate and Create (S&C) program connects youth with education by combining skateboarding with arts-based education. The Back-To-School (BTS) program reaches out-of-school children. Through the Dropping In program, the children use safe-learning spaces, learning resources and tutoring, and enjoy additional sports classes. The Youth Leadership program provides leadership training and work experience to promising young Afghans from disadvantaged backgrounds.
A grant from the Cultures of Resistance Network funded an upgrade to the exterior of Skateistan’s skateboarding and educational facility. This grant will help the organization provide opportunities for sport, education, and trust-building to over 300 Afghan girls and boys for many years to come.