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Skateistan Logo.png
Founded 2007
Kabul, Afghanistan
Type Non-governmental organization
Focus youth empowerment, girls' education, trust-building
Area served
Afghanistan, Cambodia, South Africa
Products Skate Shoes, Clothing, Safety Gear, Book
Method skateboarding, creative arts, sports, innovation
Key people
Oliver Percovich, founder & Executive Director

Skateistan[1] is an international non-governmental organization that works with youth from a range of ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds to build trust and to provide empowerment through a combination of skateboarding and educational activities. It was established in May 2007 with the opening of the first Skateistan facility in Kabul, Afghanistan. It has since expanded, with project sites in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Johannesburg, South Africa. Its international headquarters is in Berlin, Germany.


Girls Skate Lessons at Mekroyan Fountain, Kabul, Afghanistan in 2008

The idea of Skateistan began in 2007 when Australian Oliver Percovich arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, with three skateboards and began skateboarding in the streets with children and youth. Percovich perceived the lack of opportunities for young Afghans, especially girls and working children, and realized that skateboarding was a way to engage them and build community. Skateistan took shape in the following years, with the help of international donors and skateboard industry partners. It was officially registered as an Afghan NGO in July 2009.

On October 29, 2009 Skateistan officially opened Afghanistan's first skatepark within a 1750m2 facility that includes classrooms, offices, a sport court and the indoor skatepark.[2] A second facility was opened in northern Afghanistan in May 2013, in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif.[3]

Skateistan has also grown to run skateboarding and educational programming for children in other countries: In 2011 Skateistan Cambodia was founded in Phnom Penh, and in 2014 Skateistan South Africa was founded in Johannesburg.

In 2012 Skateistan moved its international administrative headquarters from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Berlin, Germany.[4]

Program activities[edit]


First Skateistan Skatepark in Afghanistan

Skateistan's skateboarding and educational programs are free of charge and open to girls and boys of all socio-economic backgrounds between the ages of 5 and 18. Over 40 per cent of Skateistan students are girls.

The organization says that "Skateistan has developed an innovative, youth-led programming that builds confidence, trust and social capital among children. We use “the hook” of skateboarding to connect kids with education. We provide opportunities for education, leadership, and creative thinking that help break the cycles of poverty and exclusion."


  • Skate and Create
  • Back to School
  • Youth Leadership
  • Street Outreach

Over 1200 children attend Skateistan's programs each week.

International activities[edit]

Non-Profit Status[6][edit]

Skateistan has charitable status in:

  • Germany
  • UK
  • USA (501c3)

There are Skateistan NGOs registered in:

  • Afghanistan (Afghanistan Skateboarding Training Organization - Skateistan)
  • Cambodia (Skateistan Cambodia)
  • South Africa (Skateistan South Africa)

Media coverage[7][edit]

Skateistan has been featured in hundreds of media pieces around the world. Its work has appeared in most major media outlets including The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Economist, Al Jazeera, and The Guardian.:[8]

Projects Locations[9][edit]

  • Skateistan Kabul (Afghanistan, 2007-present)
  • Skateistan Cambodia [10] (Phnom Penh, 2011-present)
  • Skateistan Mazar-e-Sharif (Afghanistan, 2013-present)
  • Skateistan South Africa [11] (Johannesburg, 2014-present)



  • Royal Danish Embassy, Afghanistan (2009 - present)
  • Royal Danish Embassy, South Africa (2014 - present)
  • German Federal Foreign Office (2009 - present)
  • Embassy of Finland, Afghanistan (2014 - present)
  • Norwegian Embassy, Afghanistan (2009 - 2013)
  • Canadian Embassy, Afghanistan (2009)


  • Tony Hawk Foundation (2014 - present)
  • Oldfield Partners LLP (2013 - present)
  • Blossom Hill Foundation (2012 - present)
  • Beyond Sport (2012 - present)
  • Motul Corazon Foundation (2013)
  • Quiksilver Foundation (2012 - 2013)
  • Roskilde Foundation (2011 - 2012)
  • United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan - UNAMA (2010)
  • AusAID (2010)
  • Kindle Project (2009 - 2012)
  • Architecture for Humanity and Gamechangers (2009)



There are currently two documentaries about Skateistan that have been released. In late 2010 a 9-minute short documentary entitled "Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul" [13] was released by director Orlando Von Einsiedel on the internet. In January 2011 a full-length documentary entitled "Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul" premiered at the Santa Barbara film festival in the United States.[14] The full-length was directed by Kai Sehr.




  • "Eric Stricker Memorial" Award from Transworld Skateboarding Magazine


  • "Champion of Learning through Play" Award from ASHOKA and LEGO Foundation
  • "Frankin Paine's Skatepark Fund" Award for social justice through skateboarding


  • #85 in The Global Journal's "Top 100 NGOs" for 2013[16]
  • Winner of the "UNICEF Sport for Education" Award at Beyond Sport Forum


  • Winner of Beyond Sport "Innovation through Sport" Award
  • Shortlisted for the Beyond Sport "Social Inclusion" Award
  • Winner of ISPO Marketing and Social Awareness Award


  • Winner of Peace and Sport "Image of the Year" Award
  • Shortlisted for the Beyond Sport "Conflict Resolution" and "Sport for Education" Awards
  • Sundance Film Festival screens "Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul"
  • "Most Valuable Documentary" at Cinema for Peace Festival in Berlin for feature-length Skateistan documentary "Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul
  • Winner of ISPO Brandnew Social Awareness Award


  • "Best Documentary" at L.A. Skate Film Festival for Skateistan short film
  • Sappi Design Award "Ideas that Matter"


  • Winner of Peace and Sport Award "NGO of the Year"
  • Recipient of Gamechangers/Architecture for Humanity "Architecture for Sport with a Social Outcome" Award
  • Golden "Dove of Peace" (UN initiative)


  1. ^ Skateistan Official Site
  2. ^ La Times "Afghan kids find skateboards the wheel deal"
  3. ^ "Mazar Facility Officially Opens". Skateistan Blog. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Annual Report 2012". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. 
  5. ^ "About Us". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Financial Overview". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Press Coverage". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ Skateistan Official Site "Press Coverage"
  9. ^ "About Us". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ Skateistan Cambodia Official Site
  11. ^ Skateistan South Africa Official Site
  12. ^ "Donors, Sponsors, Partners". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  13. ^ Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul
  14. ^ Skateistan Full-Length Documentary Official Site
  15. ^ "Skateistan awards". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Skateistan Selected as Top 100 NGO". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 

External links[edit]