Skateboarding Makes Afghan Girls Feel Free

When 19-year-old Nelofar steps on a skateboard and flies down the big ramp she tells me she feels “very brave and very strong.” She feels free.

“I like the 360 flip, that’s very amazing,” she laughs. Looking at Nelofar, wide-eyed with enthusiasm as she Skypes me from Mazar-e-Sharif’s Skateistan school, I tell her I think she’s pretty brave, too.

UNICEF identifies Afghanistan as one of the worst places to be born a woman in the world. Of the 4 million children not enrolled in school, 60 percent are girls. And, as international forces continue to withdraw from Afghanistan, violence against women is still prevalent. When Nelofar steps on a skateboard, she’s breaking gender boundaries.


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