Once in a blue moon even when the world continues to splinter and change, there is a land where a collective of people are uniting. The Land of Skate grow, learn and react to the lives of children and youth in countries caught up by conflict and inequality and offer some out of the box solutions.
I discovered the extraordinarily cool NGO, Skateistan, back in 2017 while I was exploring, or, I don’t know, silver lining searching in the midst of the violence and chaos that was unfolding. Skateistan, the leading skateboard for development NGO, which started in Afghanistan almost 10 years ago and now also works in Cambodia and South Africa.
Skateistan believes that the community-building effects of skateboarding are especially powerful in Afghanistan, which has experienced over 30 years of ongoing conflict and social dislocation. Operating as an Afghan NGO, Skateistan builds trust among youth and develops their confidence, leadership, and life skills.
One of the gems in Skateistan’ crowns is Citizens of Skateistan (CoS). Since the inception of CoS just two years ago the group has become an international community of supporters, skaters, students and staff, who united together to support skateboarding and education around the world. CoS is a platform designed for a growing global community.
2018 began with the newest project from the innovators and activists at Skateistan, a 13-minute documentary which explores how skateboarding has emerged as an unlikely tool to change society.
Land of Skate, produced by Ghost Digital Cinema and directed by renowned filmmaker Ty Evans, was filmed on location in Afghanistan, Cambodia and goes behind the doors of Skateistan’s Skate Schools worldwide for the first time, at which over 1,800 children and youth are gaining access to education and opportunities. 50% are girls, 70% are from low-income backgrounds and their students represent 20 different ethnicities and nationalities worldwide.
It delves deeper into the inspiring stories of Latifa, Ahmed, Soso and Srey Pich who, despite living in difficult circumstances, have found a path to empowerment through skateboarding and education. Land of Skate explores how Skateistan has impacted the lives of children and youth in these locations but also how skateboarding has created a global community in a divisive world. Latifa, Ahmed, Soso and Srey Pich may be from opposite sides of the world, but they are citizens of the same land, united by skateboarding.