Skateistan empowers youth in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Pakistan. Girls can shred it too.

There’s been a lot of recent buzz about a pretty special organisation working with young people in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Pakistan. Skateistan is an NGO (Non Government Organisation) that works to empower young people through skateboarding, managing skate parks and providing programmes in education and personal development.

There are no gender restrictions at Skateistan. Young Afghan girls get to shred it.

“People keep looking at our shoes and our boards in a weird way…”

Back in 2012, Skateistan released a short film about their work in Kabul, focusing on some of the young girls and boys taking part in the growing skate community there. In some Afghan communities, girls are not allowed to ride bikes, but the same restrictions do not apply to skateboards.

Skateistan video: Watch girl skaters in Kabul 2012

As a charity, Skateistan focuses particularly on girls and working children; in the video you can hear Kabul’s skate park manager Shana Nolan discuss the positive effect that skateboarding has been having on young girls in Kabul. “The main purpose of Skateistan is to build kids’ confidence and give them a voice,” she says.

Shana Nolan, Kabul skate park manager

Skateboarding represents freedom and autonomy. It’s incredibly encouraging to see these experiences being extended to young people whose freedoms are so often limited. Everyone at the skate park is bonded by a desire to skate, to participate, to be part of a community that inspires. The work of Skateistan adds to a growing narrative of a positive sport providing a sense of community and passion that can change peoples’ lives.

Check out the film, and if you like you can donate towards Skateistan’s work at their website. If you’re feeling really inspired, get yourself a skateboard and hit the streets – there’s a whole community of creative and inspiring boarders in every corner of the Earth just waiting for you to join the party.

As they have also discovered, sport can help to empower.

Next: Meet the skateboarding moms of America


Tamana: Student and skate teacher. Age 11.