If someone was to tell you that nearly half the skateboarders in any given country were female, you would probably be pretty surprised.
If someone was to tell you that skateboarding is the biggest female sport in Afghanistan of all places, we imagine you would again be slightly sceptical – or a little bit confused at the least.
But it’s true, and it’s all thanks to Skateistan, an apolitical, award-winning project that brings skateboarding and education to some of the world’s most deprived and war torn nations.
The charity was started by Aussie skater Oliver Percovich in 2007 on the streets of Kabul, the Afghan capital, and it also runs projects in Cambodia and South Africa as well.
Speaking about the situation in Afghanistan when he arrived, Oliver notes that “sports were things that boys could do and girls couldn’t,” a factor that his initiative aims to change and so far has succeeded in doing so.
The charity works with youths aged from 5-18 years old, with 40 percent of their clientele being girls and over half of the students being streetworking childen.
The above video dropped in November as Skateistan aim to raise the money needed to continue their good work. They’re looking to raise $60,000 to “keep providing safe spaces” in the areas where they operate, and so far have received nearly $10,000 of their target.
In a country known more for its involvement in war than anything else, it’s amazing to see a project like this touch so many people. Female literacy is only 13 percent in Afghanistan, so to see skateboarding impacting the locals in such a way is quite astounding.
Amongst others, the project has picked up backing from the legendary Tony Hawk, who says: “In the middle east children grow up so disenchanted and they miss their childhood very quickly.
“I feel like skateboarding is a link to being a kid and playing, but also learning to grow and having self-discipline and self-confidence.”
“If [Oliver] can make his starting point Afghanistan then there’s really no limits.”
The video explains how 300 girls a week come to skateboard with the Skateistan project – an occurrence that’s pretty rare in general nevermind in war torn countries.
Give it a watch up the top to find out more about the amazing story, and if you’re moved to donating, you can help out here.