- Award Entered:
Sport for Conflict Resolution Award
- Parent Organisation:
- Project Host Nation:
- Overview of Project:
Conflict in Afghanistan has been largely ongoing since 1978, and the lack of a civil society during this time has deepened ethnic, social and cultural divisions. One of the largest underlying challenges in Afghanistan is the lack of trust and understanding between the many ethnicities and between Afghans and foreigners. It's for this reason that encouraging interaction between young people of different backgrounds is so important. Skateistan operates Afghanistan’s first co-educational skateboarding school and directly addresses this issue, with a student population from various socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. Using skateboarding as a tool for engaging youth and breaking down social barriers, once they come, Skateistan also has the opportunity to build a community of trust and provide education on the issues that affect them. In Afghanistan, popular sports typically involve violence or competition. Skateboarding is non-competitive, requires minimal supervision and resources, and can be practiced almost anywhere. Achievements in skateboarding occur on an individual level and depend on balance, creativity and personal expression. Furthermore, the absolute novelty of skateboarding in Afghanistan means there are no existing cultural norms preventing girls from participating. The interaction and connections that happen through skateboarding are further built upon in classroom activities and arts projects.