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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