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 award-winning international non-profit 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. Over 40% of students are girls. 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. With Skate Schools in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as running programs in Sihnoukville,Cambodia. The 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 1750 m² 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]

The most recent Skate School was officially opened in Johannesburg on August the 14th 2016.

Program activities


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 17. Over 40 per cent of Skateistan students are girls.

Their mission statement is "skateboarding and education for youth empowerment."


This program combines an hour of skateboarding instruction with an hour of educational arts. Each semester Skateistan Students learn about topics such as human rights and the environment, through taking part in creative arts such as painting, sculpture or photography. Skate and Create focuses on giving youth the safe space to learn through play and develop friendships that overcome deep social barriers.

Back-to-School provides educational tutoring. In Afghanistan, this is an accelerated learning program for out of school youth. Students come to Skate School five days a week for classes covering the national curriculum. Upon completion of the program Skateistan enrols students into a public school, usually in the 3rd or 4th grade. In South Africa, the program provides after school homework help and career guidance at the Dropping In center of the Skate School.

Promising youth at Skateistan may go on to become Youth Leaders, assisting the Educators in classes, building their skill sets and planning local events. The Youth Leadership program develops a sense of ownership at the Skate Schools and creates role models for the other students and wider community. The program aims to create leaders for Skateistan and for a better world!

It’s how it all began! With skateboarding. Outreach sessions take place at Skate Schools and in the local areas Skateistan works in. Educators and Youth Leaders head out with skateboards to engage with local youth. It is often the first time they will try skateboarding and their first contact with Skateistan. Through Outreach sessions, many students go on to register in the Skate and Create or Back-To-School programs. In fact, many current Youth Leaders and staff members started at Outreach!

Skateistan runs programs at their Skate Schools, select locations and with partner organizations in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Skateistan Educators run programs 5 days a week, reaching more than 1500 youth.

International activities

Non-Profit Status[6]

Skateistan has charitable status in:

There are Skateistan NGOs registered in:

Media coverage[7]

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.







Two documentaries about Skateistan have been released. In late 2010 a 9-minute short documentary entitled "Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul" [12] 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.[13] The full-length was directed by Kai Sehr.












  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. "About Us". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  9. Skateistan Cambodia Official Site
  10. Skateistan South Africa Official Site
  11. "Donors, Sponsors, Partners". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  12. Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul
  13. Skateistan Full-Length Documentary Official Site
  14. "Skateistan awards". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  15. "Skateistan Selected as Top 100 NGO". Skateistan Website. Skateistan. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
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