Women’s Empowerment Through Skateboarding w/ Skateistan
Skateistan is near 10-years old and it’s one of those stories in skateboarding that warms the heart and proves that our culture can both save and inspire lives. If this kind of thing gets you going then go help out or find a charity that is a good fit for yourself. It’ll make ya feel like a million bucks and change others lives for the better in the process.
The Skateistan programmes are based in three countries – Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. How did the planning for these originally come about?
Well Skateistan started out in 2008 in Kabul, Afghanistan – the idea sparked when founder Oliver Percovich realised he could connect skateboarding to educational opportunities for girls (and boys) in the country. He set out to find the funding to open the first Skate School in 2009 and a second location in Mazar-e-Sharif opened in 2012 – it was important to create these safe spaces, in particular for girls. The opportunities that Skateistan’s programs have given girls in Afghanistan is incredible and is one of the reasons the charity has made such a big impact. The need for similar opportunities elsewhere in the world was apparent and with skateboarding proving to be a tool to connect with youth, Skateistan opened in Cambodia and South Africa. We launched the most recent Skate School in Phnom Penh last month. Although we were at a previous site in the city (running since 2011), this new location will reach more low income children and get more girls skating. At the launch event girls skated first and Sky Brown and Mimi Knoop were there to join in the celebration. Globally over 50% of Skateistan’s students are girls, so that’s more than 900 girls skating at the Skate Schools each week. International Women’s Day is an important celebration for all of our students around the world with Skateistan empowering girls through skateboarding and education for 10 years now. We will be celebrating that milestone later in the year!