Skateistan Opens Indoor ParkPerhaps 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.
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.
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 skateistan.org or the Skateistan facebook page.
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