Skateistan invites gamers to support at-risk kids in new DDB campaign


Skateistan, the non-profit organisation that runs skateboarding and arts-based programs for children living in at-risk societies, has launched a new campaign ‘Play For Skateistan‘, bringing the stories of children in high-conflict areas to the global gaming community.


The unique gamer-focused fundraising project aims to raise awareness and donations for the Skateistan community – children who are impacted by global conflicts and crises in areas such as Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa.

The NGO was founded in 2007 to provide safe spaces, positive role models and a sense of community to children living in high-conflict zones.

However, unsafe conditions in these areas have made it harder for Skateistan to operate, meaning they need new methods to access support and donations in order to keep providing programs and a safe place for children.

For the first time, ‘Play For Skateistan’ brings the children of Skateistan somewhere the whole world can help and learn about their stories – the gaming world.

Created by DDB Germany, Futura FTW and in collaboration with the online gaming community referred to as the “modding community” – who create and implement in-game modifications called “mods” – three playable gaming characters have been developed based on real Skateistan students and their backstories: Sara from Afghanistan, Natalia from South Africa and Arun from Cambodia.

The “mods” of these characters, along with unique skateboard deck designs portraying messages of empowerment, are available on, where gamers cannot only download to play with them, but also donate to support the non-profit.

Gamers can use the mods on the popular game Skater XL, with mods for games such as Session and True Skate to follow, in addition to replicas of the children’s hometown skate parks which will be released in the next days.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage the global skateboarding gaming community to play with the students’ characters in-game, meaning these students will be able to skate in reality thanks to the donations raised.

On a larger scale the campaign hopes to foster a sense of community among at-risk children worldwide, welcoming those outside of Skateistan’s operating counties by making them feel represented and part of the global skateboarding community.

Oisin Tammas, Head of Communications at Skateistan, said: “Skateistan is all about the empowerment & education of young people. Just as our students show us how to make our programs better, the next generation can show us how to tell the story of Skateistan and its impact in more exciting and interactive ways.

“This project does just this: engaging a new, young audience with Skateistan and its students, in new (virtual) realities. This is a game-changer for the social skate sector.”

The campaign launched on 6 April, United Nations’ International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, with the support of well-known skateboard gaming streamers like JL_Nightmare and Shades Wade. And real Pro-skaters such as Walker Ryan and the TSG skateboarding team.

“Play for Skateistan” is a Europe-wide partnership between Skateistan, DDB Group Germany and Futura FTW. DaHouse Audio is responsible for the original scores for the launch film.