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