Portraits of Afghan Girls Who Are Empowered by Skateboarding

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Skateistan is a non-profit organization that seeks to connect youth to education by first introducing them to skateboarding. After hearing that a large percentage of the participants in Kabul, Afghanistan, are girls, photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson decided to shoot portraits that show how the sport is empowering young Afghan girls in a country where girls are generally forbidden from even riding bikes.

Her project, titled “Skate Girls of Kabul,” is now receiving a great deal of attention around the world.

“She first caught my eye because she was wearing such a beautiful colour. She’s just immaculate. From the way she has tied her headscarf so beautifully and so naturally, you see that she has an innate sense of grace. Her little hennaed hand rests gently – yet possessively – on the skateboard, and how small she seems beside it! I love her assurance: her firm, steady gaze. One feels a sense of depth in her eyes, even though she is just 7 years of age.” --Jessica Fulford-Dobson

“She first caught my eye because she was wearing such a beautiful colour. She’s just immaculate. From the way she has tied her headscarf so beautifully and so naturally, you see that she has an innate sense of grace. Her little hennaed hand rests gently – yet possessively – on the skateboard, and how small she seems beside it! I love her assurance: her firm, steady gaze. One feels a sense of depth in her eyes, even though she is just 7 years of age.” –Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Skateistan is designed to reintroduce kids from poor and displaced families to school by using skateboarding lessons as “a hook.” The girl shown in the portrait above passed three grades and enrolled in the national school system after attending the skateboarding program for one year.

“I feel lucky to have met them,” Fulford-Dobson writes. “I hope that this collection captures something of their spirit: their joy in life, their individuality and their community.”

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(via Colossal)


Image credits: All photographs © Jessica Fulford-Dobson and used with permission

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