skateistan    When a country is formed, there is one thing that is stronger than ideology, geography and history: the longing and desire to do something. Why not? We very frequently feel much closer to somebody who shares our propensities and what we do with our free time than to many who were born in the same area as we were. We can feel much more comfortable with people from a different race who speak unintelligible languages to us than with people who hold the same passports and speak the same language as us. An example of this is skateboarding. And skateboarding is a nation, and what follows here is a description of a special province within this nation: Skateistan.
Geographically, Skateistan is in Afghanistan. Every week, about 320 kids go there to learn how to glide around on a skateboard as well as receiving general education instruction. It is the only schooling many of them receive as most of them are young boys and girls who work on the streets of Kabul to help out with the home economy.

In 2007, Australian skate fans Oliver Percovich and Sharna Nolan set up Skateistan. When they first skated down the streets of Kabul, the skaters saw that the local kids were taken with the four-wheeled planks. So they decided to teach them to skate. In a short time they managed to construct a skate-park on a site given to them by the Afghanistan Olympic Committee and it was soon a focal gathering point for local children. Seeing how much an attraction the skateboarding was, the people behind the school decided to give normal school classes as well as the skate classes to the youngsters. There are currently 20 Afghan and half a dozen foreign teachers in Skateistan. A film with the same name as the project, Skateistan ( ), has just been released. The film shows that gliding your way down a street on a board on four wheels can be both the easiest and most difficult thing in the world. It also suggests that this type of project isn’t that far removed from utopia. One of the protagonists in the film is a 12 year-old chewing gum street seller called Fazilla. She says: “My dad doesn’t like it. And when I’m skating down the street, I can see it in the faces of the passersby. They don’t like it and they don’t feel I have the right to skate. But I don’t care what they think.”
Utopia is not an objective, it is a means.