The defiant skate kids of Afghanistan

September 17, 2012

Last week four children from an Afghani skateboarding charity were killed in a Taleban bomb

Back in July, during the heady build-up to the Olympics, you may have read an article in Times2 about Skateistan, an innovative, exciting charity that is encouraging children to take up skateboarding in Afghanistan. Skateistan’s founder, Oliver Percovich, came to London to pick up an award at the Beyond Sport summit on behalf of the 400 Afghan teenagers learning nollies and kickflips along with their lessons.

Last week four of them were killed in a Taleban bomb attack in Kabul’s embassy district, where they worked on the street selling scarves and bracelets. The suicide bomber who killed them was also a teenager, carrying his lethal load in his backpack.

“She was always telling us to be brave like the boys, then no one would dare to touch us,” said a girl who skateboarded with 14-year-old Khorshid, w… [more]

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Skateistan: How skateboarding took off with Afghan kids

July 17, 2012

It’s no surprise that in a world full of rules most kids want to do something with no organisation, and no adults. “This country has more restrictions than just about any other,” Oliver Percovich says, explaining how his own passion for freedom and fun led to groups of boys and girls flying across Afghanistan’s dusty relics of war and occupation on skateboards.

At 37, Percovich is getting a bit old to be a skateboard dude. He picked up the hobby growing up in Australia and Papua New Guinea, and arrived in Afghanistan five years ago with a board. Percovich hadn’t come to work for a nongovernmental organisation or serve with the army — he was following his girlfriend.

The relationship didn’t work out, but a group of kids were soon congregating around the empty Masood fountain in Kabul to watch him do tricks on his board, and have a go themselves.

“I gave twice as much time to… [more]

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