Skateistan Opens Indoor Park

Yoon Sul

The skate hall opening was packed with onlookers as the children had a chance to skate the new ramps for the first time.

Perhaps pushed off my radar by the premiere of Zero's "Strange World" video and the Johnny Romano Skate Jam in Houston, the opening of Skateistan's Skate Hall, the largest indoor sports facility and skatepark in Kabul, Afghanistan, is of equal importance (if not more), even though many of us might feel far removed from Kabul by distance or an inability to understand the events transpiring there. In a place often overrun by chaos, corruption and a lack of accountability, the skate hall is an important step in the development of a new generation of children (who will eventually become adults) that could strive to do good for their country.

Yoon Sul

There were multiple milestones at the skate hall opening: the first time the Afghan kids skated the park, the construction of the largest indoor sports facility and skate park in Afghanistan and the world's first co-educational skateboarding school.

The story of the school, how it started and what it aims to do was reported here in August, in a story entitled "Skateistan: A Rebirth of Skateboarding in Afghanistan" and we made it a point to continue to follow the program's growth.

Since the meager beginnings of a few boards and an empty fountain that served as a rough makeshift ramp, Skateistan has grown considerably. The indoor skate facility, built by IOU Ramps, opened at the end of October, with hundreds of spectators, international donors, Afghan dignitaries, supporters, employees and skateboarding kids present. It is the beginning of what will eventually be a school with courses aimed at helping children develop life skills, learn to use the Internet, find mentors, rekindle Afghan pride through old traditions and games and, eventually, initiate their own microbusinesses.

Yoon Sul

A larger look at the crowd that showed up to celebrate the grand opening.

The program grows day by day, but for now, Oliver Percovich, the Australian man who started Skateistan, and his team, will continue to draw children in through skateboarding and allow them to take control of their own future.

To learn more, go to or the Skateistan facebook page.

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