Suli Skatepark was constructed in April 2018 and extended a year after, due to its success. Not far from the Iran-Iraq border, the skatepark is located in the Kurdish region of Iraq, in the city of Sulaymaniyah also called Slemani in Kurdish. It is the first skatepark in Iraq and serves many motivated young people from all over the region. The construction and extension of the skatepark were only made possible thanks to Make Skate Life, East by West, and all the amazing locals who got involved throughout the process.
With a country that’s recent definition is seemingly shaped by war and the associated dangers it might not be the first place one would associate with a skate scene and/or a safe place to travel. Yet the country’s first skatepark is now completed, extended and haven proven to be a huge success and provides the forum for visitors young and old, beginning and skilled, to meet and share experiences. For many skateboarding youth, the skatepark becomes a home-away-from-homeStill growing after the war, the city is one of the most populated in the region and with a young demographic. Therefore this town was ideal for a skatepark that provides and serves as a welcoming place, empowering the local youth to meet, come together, develop and break down social barriers.
A free skateboard loaner program has been installed in the skateparks and volunteer-led support is provided for beginners, ensuring a large number of users with free, safe, and equal access to use their skateparks. The support now extends to free volunteer-led skate programs for Syrian refugee children within Sulaymaniyah and Mosul. Teams are divided into one month periods where the participants during the first two weeks learn basic skateboarding at home in the refugee camp. In the following two weeks, participants will be transported to Suli Skatepark for more advanced development. The programs have been a huge success and serve as a beautiful and inspiring project for all of us.