Skip to main content

An interview with Jess Faulkner

Jess Faulkner, Skateistan, in an interview with

We are very happy about the cooperation with Skateistan, an award-winning international non-profit organization empowering children through skateboarding and education in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. In an interview with Jess she gives insights into the organization.

Dear Jess please introduce your organization to our readers in a few sentences.

Skateistan is an international award-winning NGO which empowers children through skateboarding and creative education. We provide safe spaces where children can learn and play and we help to create leaders for a better world.

How did the idea of your project come about, how did it develop?

Our Founder, Oliver, went to Kabul in 2007. He's a lifelong skateboarder and he was skating the streets of the city. He noticed children, particularly those who were working on the streets, were fascinated by his skateboard so he started running informal skate sessions in a disused fountain in Kabul.

Because skateboarding was new, it was a great way of connecting children from different backgrounds and ethnicities. And importantly, there were no rules preventing girls from joining in.

Over time, this evolved into Skateistan, and we built our first indoor Skate School in Kabul in 2009. Now we have Skate Schools in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif, Bamyan (under construction), Phnom Penh and Johannesburg.

What drives you every day, what are you passionate about?

We are passionate about children having the chance to determine their own futures.We want to see our students reach their potential, and learn important skills that can help them to do that. Creativity is really key to this vision; when children are educated and they can think creatively, they become problem solvers and innovators, putting them in a great position to improve their own communities.

If you had to name in 3 to 4 key words, in which areas you change the world for the better, what would these three words be?

  • Equality
  • Empowerment
  • Fun

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

If you want to be a part of what we do, you can join the Citizens of Skateistan, our global community of skaters, students and supporters. Find out more at

Thank you for these exciting insights. We are happy that we can support you together with the staff! If you want to know more, you can find detailed information here on the website of Skateistan.