Empowerment through Skateboarding...in Afghanistan
Skateistan is an organization based in Kabul, Afghanistan, which runs a series of clubs and "safe spaces" programs for girls to teach them skateboarding as a tool for empowerment. Most participating girls come to the Skateistan site five days a week, where they receive training and find a new community. They are also scaffolded into attending school; many of these girls are very low-income and don't regularly attend school. Skateboarding becomes "hook" for a larger project of girls' empowerment. And it's fun.
Skateistan is really great because it's actually a fun activity for girls. Talking about women and girls' safety can feel very heavy, and it's important to remember that girls are girls everywhere in the world. and they won't keep coming to any program if it's not enjoyable for them. Inserting joy and celebration and kid-ness into new programs is a great way to ensure success.
Skateistan is also really skilled at organizing cross-cultural exchanges around skateboarding - they recently paired a group of skateboarding youth from Kabul with another from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.