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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Afghanistan project proves power of skateboarding

Skateistan has had success getting young girls into sport in oppressive communities around the world 

The power of skateboarding as a force for good, helping deprived communities and getting children into sport, is shown through the work of Skateistan.

The non-profit organisation, which is celebrating a decade of service this year, has devised innovative programmes that help children build their skills and confidence, to create a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

Skateistan programmes are aimed at children aged 5 to 17, with a focus on girls, children living with a disability and children from low-income backgrounds.

A back-to-school programme supports young people in their pursuit of formal education.

In Afghanistan, an accelerated learning programme has seen success for children who are out of school.

Students come to the Skate School five days a week to attend classes covering the national public curriculum.

Social convention and tradition has set firm boundaries in place in Afghanistan but as skateboarding was an unrecognised sport, no one stood in the way of young girls taking part.

Upon completing the programme, education leaders enrolled students into public school, usually in the 3rd or 4th grade.

A similar programme operates in South Africa and Cambodia outside of school hours, where students can drop in and receive homework help and guidance with career and further education planning.

“Projects like Skatestan to get women and children into the sport are absolutely brilliant,” said South African Candi Fanucci, operations manager at XDubai Skatepark.

“Sport breeds a new, healthier nation and the more you can get young people into sport, the better. This is definitely something we can work on in the region.

“The sport is affordable and builds social skills in a healthy environment for young people.”

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