We all know that finding a commonality with a subject is one way that students can build empathy and feel motivated to learn, and what adolescent can’t find something to like about skateboards, skateparks, and building safe opportunities for children to play?

Skateistan is an organization that works to empower children through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. The organization was started in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2007, by and Australian skateboarder named Oliver Percovich. He was visiting Kabul, where decades of war left Afghan children with limited options for recreation, and he noticed teenagers interested in his skateboards. His idea was born, and soon he was looking for donations to get more skateboards to the Afghan youth.

Since that time, Skateistan has worked to build skate parks and schools in three countries, and has to date built five centers where children can find a safe community where they can play and learn, free from discrimination and violence.

Geography Connections: Using the Skateistan website, locate the countries when Skateistan has built skateparks on a map. Learn the political, physical and cultural geography of the areas.

Geography theme of movement: how do ideas travel around the globe? How did the idea of skateboarding first get to Kabul, Afghanistan?

Community Involvement: teach people about the work of Skateistan and create a student-led fundraiser.