Skateistan Charity Builds New Facilities from Second Hand Shipping Containers
What do second hand shipping containers have to do with skateboarding, Afghanistan, Cambodia and at risk youth? A lot once you check out this amazing humanitarian project started by skateboarders Oliver Percovich, Max Henniger, Shams Razi and Sharma Nolan.
What is Skateistan?
Skateistan is Kabul’s very first skate park. Skateboarding is used as a way for children to communicate with each other and build relationships with each other, build confidence and give them a voice. It’s a hub of female sporting activity which is incredibly important in the nation formerly ruled by the Taliban. Youth are provided with a safe and fun place to keep active and fit in a city that was ravaged by war over the last decade.
“We believe that focusing resources on the youth of Afghanistan is the key to realizing a more peaceful future. These children, especially the most marginalized and the girls, need to be given the chance and the tools to make positive change in their communities and country,”
– Oliver Percovich, founder and Executive Director of Skateistan
Now Skateistan goes way further than simply providing a place for children and youth to jump on a skateboard and ride around – their mission has expanded to education. By 2014, nearly half of all of Skateistan’s students were female, with all students being between the ages of 5 and 25, and over 60% of their students coming from extremely low income neighborhoods – often having to work in the streets or as child labourers to support their families.
Skateboarding is used as a fun tool to attract youth to the organisation – girls cannot ride bikes, yet they are allowed to skateboad and once they are hooked, they start to attend classes as well. The programme has been so successful that it has been replicated in both South Africa and Cambodia.
But What Does This Have To Do With Shipping Containers?
In 2013 the team opened a brand new skatepark in Mazar-e-Sharif constructed entirely from repurposed shipping containers and locally sourced materials. Constructed by a local construction team alongside a wide variety of international sponsors, this 6000 square metre facility serves 1000 local kids each and every week, who would otherwise not have had access to recreation or education. This huge building has walls created from stacked 40 foot shipping containers with a corrugated steel roof, similar to a barn or a warehouse. These buildings host a wide variety of services and facilities including:
- Prayer Rooms
- Social Areas
- A Dining Area
And of course, to top it all off, an awesome skate park full of children pulling tricks, jumping on ramps and having fun. This isn’t just any skatepark however, it was build by Europe’s leading skate ramp designers IOU ramps in just 5 days!
Based on military style modular buildings constructed from containers, its design is to show the youth that the buildings they see in similar compounds in their community can also be used for peaceful, even fun purposes.
The buildings are low maintenance and due to the strength of shipping containers, built to last the test of time. Modular construction makes the buildings scaleable should the need to grow arise.
The land was donated by the Afghan National Olympic Committee in the form of a rent free lease, while construction was partially sponsored by the Afghanyar Construction Company Ltd. Local skate teachers worked with ramp building experts to gain hands-on skills in the construction of skateboard ramps. The rest of the construction funding was supplied by the German Federal Foreign Office, while other funding for fit outs was supplied by Denmark and Norway, making this a truly international humanitarian project.
We think this is a great project and it is awesome to see second hand shipping containers being used in a novel and unique way to provide a safe space to at risk kids who need it the most. It’s great to see more and more shipping containers being used in community projects or by charitable organisations for the greater good both locally and around the world.
Want to donate to Skateistan? Click here
Do You Need to Construct a Modular Building?
Buildings like these can be constructed quickly and effectively whether it’s in former war zone, the Aussie outback, or an empty lot in Brisbane. Contact us now to discuss your options when it comes to building with recycled shipping containers – we’ve got access to a wide variety of specialists in the local community from architects to builders who are experienced in construction with shipping containers.