Last month, the international NGO Skateistan ran a campaign to showcase the power of women supporting other woman – via their skateboards


In 2009, now-award-winning NGO Skateistan was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, with its very first skate school. By combining skateboarding with creative, arts-based education, the organisation aimed to give children excluded from sports and educational opportunities – especially girls, children living with disabilities and those from low-income backgrounds – safe spaces to have fun, build their confidence and break down social barriers. Those skills, the founders believed, would give them the foundation of skills to help them become leaders, in a war-ravaged country where opportunities are few.

Today, Skateistan runs five skate schools which have around 2,500 students, half of whom are girls: in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Bamyan in Afghanistan; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Johannesburg, South Africa. In July 2020 it ran a campaign called It’s Her Turn, focusing on girls’ empowerment through skating and the importance of female role models for young women.

Prominent women skateboarders contributed to the campaign’s short film and created a photo collection of female skaters including Andrea Benitez, Brighton Zeuner, Nicole Hause, Tania Cruz and Cata Diaz, by female photographers Mimi Knoop, Zorah Olivia, Norma Ibarra, Raisa Abal, Olga Aguilar and Hannah Bailey.

“All around the world, girls are restricted in many aspects of their lives,” says Claire Dugan, deputy executive director at Skateistan. “It’s often assumed that girls are less interested in sports, but this is often simply that they don’t realise their own potential because of lack of role models, encouragement or access to safe spaces. At Skateistan, we want to challenge that idea and show girls that they can be whatever they want to be. By employing women as leaders and educators, we can show girls that it’s possible to achieve their dreams.”

Scroll down for a selection of some of the photography published as part of It’s Her Turn. If you want to get learn more about Skateistan or get involved in their work, visit their website.


Photo Credit: Zorah Olivia


Photo Credit: Mubaraka Muhammadi


Photo Credit: Norma Ibarra


Photo Credit: Olga Aguilar


Photo Credit: Raisa Abal


Photo Credit: Hannah Bailey

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