SKAT­ING FOR CHANGE

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - FILTER - Skateis­tan re­cently opened a branch in Jo­han­nes­burg. Za.skateis­tan.org

In Fe­bru­ary 2007, so­cial en­tre­pre­neur Oliver Per­covich ar­rived in Kabul, Afghanistan, with three skate­boards. The sport was a nov­elty in the coun­try and Oliver re­alised he could help ed­u­cate marginalised young girls. His trans­for­ma­tive NGO, Skateis­tan, caught the eye of Bri­tish pho­tog­ra­pher Jessica Ful­fordDob­son – MC talks to her about her project and the power of skat­ing

MC: How did the project come about?

In 2012, I stum­bled across a small news­pa­per piece about girls skate­board­ing in Kabul. The very idea of Afghan girls on skate­boards cap­tured my imag­i­na­tion and I thought it was a shame that such a vis­ually strik­ing story was com­pressed into a small column of text.

We only seem to hear bleak news from Afghanistan, so it was re­ally re­fresh­ing to read some­thing so dif­fer­ent and up­lift­ing. I knew im­me­di­ately that the skate girls of Kabul would be the per­fect sub­ject for me.

MC: How do you think this pro­gramme is chang­ing the lives of Afghan girls? In Afghanistan, men and women are seg­re­gated in of­f­cial set­tings. All classes are sin­gle-sex, and older girls teach the younger skaters. So the project also em­bod­ies the idea of women sup­port­ing women. One amaz­ing thing about skate­board­ing is that it demon­strates just how tough and re­silient girls can be. They hurl them­selves for­ward with un­stop­pable courage, and if they take a tum­ble they bounce right up again.

MC: What do you hope for the project? I hope as many peo­ple and coun­tries as pos­si­ble get to see the Skate Girls of Kabul. They are so joy­ous – ev­ery­one feels bet­ter when they have seen them; they are up­lift­ing and in­spir­ing in so many ways. The Skate Girls of Kabul, I hope, might be like the Olympic torch was go­ing around the world: spread­ing light, hope and hap­pi­ness as they go.

RIGHT AND

BE­LOW

Skateis­tan gets poor and dis­placed chil­dren back into school. Girls make up al­most half of

the pro­gramme

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