In Afghanistan, girls aren’t allowed ride bicycles, but that hasn’t stopped them from hitting the pavement. Back in 2007, Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich was in Kabul and, seeing the girls’ curiosity for skateboarding, he decided to start Skatistan as a way to empower kids and give them something fun to do. As one of their students Saimaa said, “Skateboarding is a type of flying.”


The project has since grown beyond Afghanistan and onto the streets of Cambodia and South Africa. Young girls are catching air in every location. In fact, 40% of the kids involved with Skateistan are girls. 60% are kids from low-income families who probably wouldn’t have any other place to play and interact with kids otherwise. But it’s not all about skateboarding.


Skateistan also offers education and personal empowerment programs. It’s all about engaging kids who don’t have the means to play or learn to realize their full potential. In Kabul, kids only go to school for a few hours each day, but Skateistan gives them more opportunities to learn.


A new exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery in London shows the work of photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson who hung out with the skating girls in Kabul and snapped portraits and action shots that will make you want to slap on some kneepads and a helmet and join them.


This skate project is an NGO and all of the donations go right back into their efforts. You can read more about it here and donate.

Do you know of other causes that are empowering young women? Fill us in below.

(Photos by Jessica Fulford-Dobson)