The Skateboarding Girls of Kabul

 Tamima, Fatima, Gulmina, and Suhaila. Photo via Skateistan

Skateistan students Tamima, Fatima, Gulmina, and Suhaila. Photo via Skateistan

Get ready. A skateboarding revolution is happening amongst young girls… in Afghanistan.

In 2009, Skateistan (an NGO and Afghanistan’s first skateboarding school) opened the doors to it’s 5428 square meter facility in Kabul, providing recreational sports and education and creative arts classes to boys and girls ages 5-17. According to Skateistan, 60% of Afghanistan’s population is under 25 and 50% is under the age of 17. Children without education (an especially girls – only 12% of Afghan women are literate) have few opportunities open to them. Skateistan aims to provide children with a safe place for education and recreation and hopes to instill each one of their students with confidence, team work and leadership skills, to help them become empowered individuals who affect change in their community.

Each week, Skateistan welcomes over 400 children, half of who are children streetworking children, some are refugees, some are disabled and 40% of all the children are girls. To help make the facility more accessible, Skateistan provides transportation to and from the facility (women and girls are usually not allowed to travel alone and getting around Kabul can be difficult with traffic congestion, limited public transportation and street harassment) as well as skateboards, other sports equipment, safety gear and educational materials.

Afghanistan’s Girl Skaters – Kabul 2012 from Skateistan on Vimeo.

Kabul is made up of diverse ethnic and socioeconomic neighborhoods and Skateistan welcomes children from across the city, hoping to give students the tools to transcend social barriers and work together o become future leaders in their community. Since 2009, 28 students have become employed by Skateistan providing a safe employment opportunity and 13 girls have become youth leaders with the organization. The success of their program in Kabul has resulted in another facility opening in Cambodia and an additional facility under construction in Northern Afghanistan.
Tamana, 11 wins 1st place in the girl's skateboarding contest. Photo via Skateistan

Tamana, 11 wins 1st place in the girl’s skateboarding contest. Photo via Skateistan

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About The Accessible City

urban planner, california

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