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15 Photos of Afghan Girls Killing it at Skateboarding, the Biggest Female Sport in the Country

Skateistan empowers Afghani girls and women through skateboarding and education.

What began as a series of casual sessions at a downtown Kabul fountain in 2007, Skateistan has evolved into a chain of empowering parks and classrooms in Afghanistan and Cambodia where boys and girls can get an education in everything from language to nutrition, work as skate instructors, learn how to wall climb and, of course, shred on a skateboard. Girls and young women, in particular, have a lot to gain from the non-profit.

In Afghanistan, President Karzai has stated that women may not travel without a male guardian. Afghan women are forbidden from driving vehicles or participating in the majority of organized sports, and they have a slim chance at an education or career. It is a heavily conservative patriarchy that’s been at the center of conflict for over thirty years where young kids often forgo an education to sell chewing gum on a street corner. At Skateistan, an NGO that introduced Afghan culture to skateboarding, girls play, learn and work freely.

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3 Anti-Youth Policies that are Hurting Your City

Attracting young people is key to urban competitiveness, but some cities still make being a kid a criminal offense.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

You can tell a lot about the attitude a city has towards its youth by the policies it maintains. Despite growing recognition that attracting young people is key to urban competitiveness, a surprising amount of municipalities still maintain laws that communicate that kids—teenagers mostly—are scary at worst, or a nuisance at best.

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London Skaters Fought Gentrification, and Won

A coalition of skateboard enthusiasts just saved the birthplace of British skate culture from a future as a shopping center.

Southbank undercroft. Photo via Flickr user Trecca

Yesterday, London’s skater community claimed victory over developers who wanted to transform the scene’s vibrant home, located in the undercroft of London’s Southbank Center, into a generic shopping center. In a joint press release, the skater activists and the Southbank Center announced that plans to develop the undercroft into a “Festival Wing” featuring cafes, restaurants, and retail units have been dropped. Long Live Southbank, the non-profit organization of skaters and allies that was formed to protect the space from commercial development, tweeted out the announcement this morning.

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From 13-Year Old Skater to 14-Year Old Bride

Through the project "Through My Eyes" we learn about Faranaz, an Afghani skater, and her home life outside of Skateistan.



Since Faranaz began attending classes at the Skateistan skatepark, she progressed to the point where she was welcomed onto the teaching staff as a girls’ instructor in the fall of 2010. She also excelled in advanced art classes. During one semester, the girls painted old skateboard decks, and Faranaz oversaw the completion of a giant wooden butterfly sculpture made out of broken boards. Early on, during her time with Skateistan, Faranaz developed problems with her vision. The team took her to an optometrist, who prescribed glasses and treatment to prevent the on-set of blindness. She had been suffering from an eye infection that afflicts many children in Afghanistan whose families live in over crowded and unhygienic conditions.

In the summer of 2010, Faranaz was chosen to take part in a Skateistan photojournalism project called "Through My Eyes." This gave her a voice, which she used to talk about her past and present home life outside of Skateistan. "Through My Eyes" gives a glimpse into her life as a 13-year-old girl living in Kabul. It is at once a very personal story, and one that contains shadows of the lives of millions of other young women living in Afghanistan. In the summer of 2011, one year after the film project was completed, Faranaz left Kabul permanently, when her family made the move north to a village near Mazar-e-Sharif at the insistence of her older brother. By January, 2012 she was engaged.

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Faranaz’s story is shared at greater length in the Skateistan book Skateistan – The Tale of Skateboarding in Afghanistan. This 320-page color book features stunning, previously unpublished photographs accompanied by essays, interviews and personal stories from Skateistan's founder Oliver Percovich and the young Afghans that have gone from being students to teachers in the skatepark and classrooms. Full of hope, beauty, gritty honesty—and skateboards!—this is a story about Afghanistan—and Faranaz—that you won’t find anywhere else.

Add purchasing your own copy of Skateistan – The Tale of Skateboarding in Afghanistan to your To-Do list here. 100 percent of profits go to Skateistan's programming for youth in Afghanistan and Cambodia.

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Downtown Philly To Get a Skatepark Even Non Skaters Will Love

In the 1990s, Philadelphia’s Love Park was an international destination for skateboarders. In a way, the park gave the city its identity....


In the 1990s, Philadelphia’s Love Park was an international destination for skateboarders. In a way, the park gave the city its identity. Neighborhood residents felt safe at night with the constant activity in the park, business people ate lunch there, and parents were happy that their kids had found a safe recreational spot in which to socialize and exercise. ESPN’s X Games extreme sports tournament even made Philadelphia its home for two years because of the park.

However, in 2002, Mayor John Street enforced a skateboarding ban, and a municipal controversy led to the need for the Skater’s Defense Lobby, which rallied for skateboarder’s rights and advocated for the positive value of skateboarding as a sport. Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund was founded to bridge the divide between the city of Philadelphia and the needs of the skateboarders, and they were determined to build skateparks.

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Skate or Die: Beautifully Morbid Sculptures Crafted from Recycled Boards

Artist Haroshi creates colorful sculptures from discarded and broken skateboards.

Skateboarding culture has a long history of intersecting with the art world. Artist Haroshi excels at this crossover, creating colorful sculptures from discarded and broken skateboards collected from friends, his own use, and skate shops. In a new exhibition, on view at Jonathan Levine Gallery until February 9, Haroshi presents his latest creations, all crafted from layers of recycled skateboards.

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