Skateistan: To Live & Skate in Kabul

Last night I had dinner with the Vice President of the Philippines. We discussed foreign policy with journalists ranging from Time Magazine, U.S. News, to the Economist. There, I met the project director for Foreign Affairs Magazine who recently spent 8 months in Afghanistan attempting to understand the current state of affairs and future potential outlook. I asked her specific questions, how it was, if it was really that bad, how dangerous it is, etc. She told me about Skateistan. In war torn Afghanistan, amidst the chaos and uncertainty of a bright future, glimmers of hope are building within the country’s youth. Skateistan is Afghanistan’s first co-educational skateboarding school. Through skateboarding, the school provides the growing number of impoverished kids in Afghanistan with opportunities – cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment. Skateistan’s students come from all over Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They not only develop skills in skateboarding and skateboarding instruction, but also healthy habits, civic responsibility, information technology, the arts, and languages. As a result of the creation of Skateistan, a renewed sense of optimism is building despite the present environment of violence and devastation. Skateistan has brought people together, equipping young men and women with the skills to lead their communities toward social change and development, “one ollie at a time.”

-johnny o.

Photo by Uggi Kaldan

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