Part 3: Skateistan Makes it Safe to Skate

Educational NGO Skateistan launches a new campaign to highlight the need for safe spaces for at-risk children.

Part 3: Skateistan Makes it Safe to Skate

For many children in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa today, access to school is not a given. Conflict, poverty, and fear are things which children should not have to face, but all too often, this is part of their everyday lives. 'Safe to Skate' is Skateistan’s most ambitious campaign to date, with a target to raise $200,000 for Skateistan’s skateboarding and educational programs. (Listen to the full interview with Skateistan's Jessica Faulkner).

In Part 1 of our series, we introduced Skateistan, an award-winning international NGO that combines skateboarding with creative education to empower children. In Part 2, Communications Manager Jessica Faulkner discussed how their schools in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa are designing gender-inclusive programs to encourage at-risk children, especially young girls, to skate, attend school and learn life skills such as resilience. Skateistan has just launched a fundraising campaign which will help them to include even more children in their innovative programs. The campaign is called ‘Safe to Skate’ and focuses on how Skateistan’s Skate Schools provide a haven for children where they feel safe to skate, learn and play.

Safia is 11 years old and lives in an internally displaced persons camp in Mazar-e-Sharif with her family. They are not from Mazar, but they had to move from their home province due to conflict and fighting. Safia then joined the Back-to-School program.

The campaign features four current Skateistan students, who tell the story of safety at Skateistan through their personal experiences. One of the students featured is Safia, who lives in an internally displaced people's camp in Afghanistan. Her education had been disrupted by conflict in the region and she was out of school. Through Skateistan, she was able to catch up on her education and return to formal schooling.

Skateistan Founder and Executive Director Oliver Percovich said of the campaign: "Safety is something that’s easy to take for granted. Through ‘Safe to Skate’ we want to highlight the different ways that Skateistan helps children to feel safe, not only by providing a safe physical environment, but by surrounding our students with staff members that they can trust, and by giving them space to express themselves without fear or judgment. Life for many of our students can feel insecure, even dangerous. Often, Skateistan is the only place where they can truly feel safe. We need people to support this campaign in order that our Skate Schools can continue to be safe havens for children in some of the least safe places in the world.”

Students studying in a classroom session at Skateistan's program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

You can find out more about Skateistan's Safe to Skate campaign and donate here.

In our interview with Jessica Faulkner, the Communications Manager at Skateistan’s Berlin headquarters, Jessica discusses her role within the organization, how Skateistan builds strong relationships within communities despite cultural differences, designing gender-inclusive programs to encourage young girls to skate, developing classroom programs to focus on life skills like resilience and determination, and the best way that readers can get involved and become a Citizen of Skateistan themselves.

Visit for more information, or follow Skateistan on social media:

Instagram: @skateistan
Facebook: @skateistan
Twitter: @skateistan