Adapted from Various Press release. (ALL Photos: Marko Djurica/REUTERS)
Skateistan started two years ago in a dried-up fountain in the heart of the Afghan capital, when two Australians with three skateboards started teaching a small group of fascinated kids. It is now Afghanistan’s (and the world’s) first co-educational skateboarding school. The school engages growing numbers of urban and internally-displaced youth in Afghanistan through skateboarding and provides them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment programs.
The numerous students are selected from all of Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. They will develop skills in skateboarding, skateboarding instruction, healthy habits, civic responsibility, information technology, the arts, and languages. The students themselves decide what they want to learn; we connect them with teachers who will enable them to develop the skills that they consider important. Classes are free, and at the back of the skating section are neat changing areas and classrooms where children can study everything from basic literacy to advanced computing when they put down their boards and take off their helmets. The organization behind Skateistan emphasizes that "Since Skateistan has been active in Kabul, we’ve seen that Afghan youth of all ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds love to skateboard. Skateistan brings them together, equipping young men and women to lead their communities toward social change and development".
Skateistan has now reached another great leap forward with the opening of Afghanistan's first indoor skateboarding park and school in Kabul at the end of December 2009. The skatepark features several easy-to-ride baby ramps, especially for beginners. The baby ramp was recently moved from the front yard at the Skateistan house to the skate park.
Other features are curbs and rails with bank sand stairs. Skateistan’s signature obstacle is the rocket wall. It is an amazing playground for several locals, including Kenny Reed’s, Maysam Faraj’s and Oliver Percovich.
There are a Mini ramp with extension on the right side and two banks and one small quarter ramp in the middle. The Afghan gap: Two large quarter ramps with a gap in the middle. On the right side a small quarter for transfers.
Kenny Reed was the first skater to do a backside 5-0 over the gap. Maysam’s slide: Wall ride with curb. Maysam Faraj did the first nose slide on this obstacle. Children’s favorite: Two speed humps in the center of the park and the flat bank ledge combination.
I first reported about Skateistan a couple of months ago here. So, this is an update of the very first blog. Visit Skateistan’s web site and buy the Skateistan tee shirt (link on the right side) for 18,00 € to give them your support and keep spread the peace.
On December 11, 2009, the following could be read on Skateistan's web site:
Skateistan has been given the award for best non-governmental organization of the year in Monaco by the Peace and Sport Forum. In the presence of H.S.H Prince Albert II, Skateistan Executive Director Oliver Percovich received the award from Peace and Sport Director and former world champion Joel Bouzou. The 3rd annual forum and award ceremony was organized by the “Organization for Peace through Sport.” I skate therefore I am: skateboard pools, pipes, parks, bowls and vert, daily skateboarding news...