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Skateistan

location_on Berlin, Germany

Empowering children and youth through skateboarding and education worldwide.

Using the hook of skateboarding, Skateistan provides education to over 2,000 vulnerable children and youth (over 50% girls) across Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. With safe places to learn and play, Skateistan unites and empowers children from various ethnicities, nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, enabling them to create a brighter future for themselves and their community.

HundrED 2019
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Overview

HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2019

2008

Established

2.5K

Children/users

4

Countries
Organisation
Not-for-profit
Updated
November 22nd, 2022
At Skateistan we believe that children should have fun as well as access to quality education. We are proud to have built Skate Schools in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa that have a skatepark as well as classroom spaces. The hook of skateboarding allows us to reach children that have often never gone to school and we provide them with a quality education which is engaging, interesting and allows them to fulfill their potential
Oliver Percovich, Founder and Executive Director

About the innovation

Empowering children and youth through skateboarding and education worldwide.

Skateistan's purpose is to empower children and youth in conflict-affected and fragile states, where education and recreation opportunities are compromised.  Skateistan is able to engage with children through Skateboarding because it is accessible to all, satisfyingly challenging and has the ability to unite people from different backgrounds. Through the nature of skateboarding the skater continuously learns to set goals and conquer his or her personal fear. As a result, each success builds confidence, raises self-esteem and improves decision-making skills. 

Skateistan's programs are designed to drive the curiosity of children and their eagerness to learn through combining classroom and arts-based curriculum with Skateboarding lessons. Through our programs: 'Skate & Create' 'Back-to-School' and 'Youth leadership',  Skateistan provides opportunities for children to learn in a supportive environment and to tackle complex problems in their own lives and their local communities. For many children who have been through traumatic life experiences, attending Skateistan's programs can be a chance to simply learn through play and forget about the stress of everyday life.  

Every student at Skateistan is valued and included as an equal member, regardless of ethnic, religious, gender or socio-cultural differences. Across all programs Skateistan aims to include a minimum of 50% girls. To ensure that this target is met Skateistan creates a 'female-first environment' by employing female teachers and running girls-only sessions each week. In particular, girls in Afghanistan face obstacles in accessing sport and actively taking part in their community, however, skateboarding is able to overcome this barrier because it is not subject to existing socially constructed restrictions.  Due to its non-competitive nature and individual learning, Skateboarding is also very accessible to children with physical and cognitive disabilities - meaning Skateistan is able to work with over 100 children living with a disability across all the project sites. 

Skateistan is currently working with multiple organisations around the world with its pilot project, the GoodPush Skateboarding Alliance. Through this project, Skateistan is sharing its knowledge with other like-minded organizations, to exponentially increase the number of children benefiting from Skateistan-inspired programs and ultimately for the organization to scale its impact. Skateistan  is collaborating with the leadership from three promising projects in Iraq, Jordan and Palestine who will receive training and mentoring on their program development and governance to help multiply Skateistan’s impact.  

Skateboarding is a unique and often completely new sport in the places where Skateistan operates, providing the opportunity to target new beneficiaries in an inclusive and innovative way. It is this factor that maximizes the possibility of program success because once children latch onto skateboarding, much more  is possible: education, community, leadership. Youth come for skateboarding and stay for education.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Innovativeness

We believe that positive social change happens when children are educated on how to take care of themselves and their communities. Our programs are for children aged 5 to 17 with a focus on girls, children living with a disability, and children from low income backgrounds. Educators and Youth Leaders head out with skateboards and sports equipment to engage with local children, providing an hour of recreational activity. Through Outreach sessions, many students go on to register in the Skate and Create or Back­-to-­School programs. Back-to-School is a program to support youth in their pursuit of formal education. In Afghanistan, this is an accelerated learning program for children who are out of school. Students come to the Skate School five days a week to attend classes covering the national public curriculum. Upon completing the program, we enroll students into public school, usually in the 3rd or 4th grade. In South Africa and Cambodia, the program takes place outside of school hours, where students can drop-in and receive homework help and guidance with career and further education planning.

Impact

Skateistan has helped over 2,000 vulnerable children, particularly impacting access to education for girls.

Scalability

Skateistan has schools in Kabul, Mazar-E-Sharif, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Johannesburg.

Steps

Skateistan's Theory of Change

The theory of change tells the story of an Afghan girl who goes through  Skateistan's programs. Based on a true story, it details how the programs work and the impact they can have on children’s lives.

Short term — Children find a fun, safe community where they can play and learn, free from discrimination and violence. Within a diverse peer group they come to understand themselves as equal with others, while learning new skills and building friendships.

Medium term — As members of a thriving learning community, youth develop key life skills and increase their confidence. Youth set goals, stay in school, and become involved in civic engagement activities. Many become role models for their peers in the skatepark and classes.

Long term — At 18, youth graduate from Skateistan and from high school with an expanded notion of community, and the tools to seek out further education and employment. Some become Skateistan volunteers and staff, and all join a global community of active, engaged citizens — promoting such values as equality, education, and inclusion.


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