We’re excited to announce an instant film collaboration with Skateistan, the international non-profit organization that uses skateboarding to change children’s lives. Starting out as a grassroots ‘Sport for Development’ project on the streets of Kabul in 2007, Skateistan has become an award-winning, international NGO with projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia & South Africa.
“We first started working with The Impossible Project back in 2014, when they sent instant cameras and film to each of our skate schools in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. It was truly mind blowing for many of the students who had never seen themselves in an instant photo before. I remember seeing those fascinated faces the first time I stepped on my skateboard in Kabul in 2007. It’s one of the main reasons Skateistan exists.
Back then I remember being surrounded by curious kids, all keen to learn how to skate. I was shocked to find out how few safe spaces there were for these children, especially girls, to play and learn. And half of the population in Afghanistan is under 16 years old! I ended up giving away all three boards I brought with me, and organizing daily skate sessions with the kids in the city streets.
The huge attraction skateboarding had with the street kids in Afghanistan made me think bigger: by bringing back more boards and opening an indoor skateboarding facility, we would be able to teach so many more kids, and link skateboarding sessions to educational opportunities. Nobody in Afghanistan knew what skateboarding was, so there were virtually no social constraints preventing girls from skating. That meant we could provide a private, safe space for girls to skate too. With a lot of effort and support from friends and partners, the daily street sessions evolved into the nonprofit project Skateistan, which uses skateboarding to connect at risk children with educational opportunities.
Skateistan is the first initiative of its kind to combine skateboarding and education. In our schools in Cambodia and South Africa as well as two now in Afghanistan, we work with over 1,200 children a week, teaching skateboarding together with creative education and supporting them to enrol or re-enrol in the public school system. We run numerous programs, such as the youth leadership program, and structured skateboarding tuitions combined with a high quality arts-based educational curriculum. Starting with three skateboards and several curious children in Afghanistan, Skateistan is now an award-winning International Sport for Development NGO, empowering youth and creating opportunities for change.”