The Skater Girls of Kabul

Afghanistan is a nation that has been riddled by violence and so the people live in an undeniably hostile climate. So when Afghanistani-American writer Khaled Hosseni stated, “there are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood”, you cannot help but wonder about the truth in that statement.

One of the groups that have been hit the hardest are women. From an adverse cultural environment, to the ruling of one of the harshest anti-feminist militant groups around, women in Afghanistan have been subjugated to a harsh life that has been separated from the public sphere. However, we are able to see a rise of female empowerment coming back to Afghanistan, that too, in unexpected ways.

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Oliver Percovich visited Afghanistan in 2007 and saw the lack of female involvement within young children who played sports. He took his love for skateboarding and started to train young girls how to skateboard in order to empower them and ignite in them a love for sports. The project, Skateistan, a non-profit organization, allows for children to be empowered and be encouraged to seek education. While their main goal is to allow children to have the skills and equipment to skateboard, it also keeps an eye on the children to make sure they receive education. Jessica Fulford-Dobson was able to visit Afghanistan and document the process with her camera and turn it into an exhibit, “The Skate Girls of Kabul”.

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Empowerment and education are both important for females across the globe. We have seen a rise for the advocacy of this situation through Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist and the recipient Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Yousafzai does indeed live closer to Afghanistan,in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa region where many Afghanis have settled. She culturally shares her ethnicity with most Afghanis and has lived under Taliban rule, like most girls in Afghanistan. However through her, we can learn many lessons on education and female empowerment, including the support females require in some regions in South Asia in order to have access to education.

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