- Award Entered:
UNICEF Sport for Education Award
- Parent Organisation:
- Project Host Nation:
- Overview of Project:
Three decades of conflict in Afghanistan have led to social disruption and underdevelopment, having an especially detrimental effect on the level and quality of education. During Taliban rule, girls were prohibited from attending schools, denying entire generations of young women this basic right. Access to education is still a problem due to social constraints and economic difficulties, especially for females and streetworking children. Recent literacy statistics for Afghan youth aged 15-24 are 49% for males and only 18% for females. Regular public schooling is only 2-3 hours per day. Using skateboarding as a tool for engaging Afghan youth, Skateistan aims to empower girls and boys from all ethnicities, abilities and social classes. Once they come here there is also the opportunity in classroom time to provide quality education and skills. In Afghanistan, popular sports typically involve violence or competition. Skateboarding is non-competitive and requires minimal supervision and resources. As a new sport in Afghanistan, a special connection and identity is being created among participants from all backgrounds. Most importantly, the absolute novelty of skateboarding in Afghanistan means there are no existing cultural norms preventing girls from participating. Skateboarding, for example, is the only sport that girls play in public.