Afghans celebrate Oscars win for film empowering girl skateboarders

'Skateistan' took home the highly-coveted prize for best short documentary

Afp February 11, 2020

KABUL: Afghans took to social media on Monday to celebrate a rare piece of good news for the war-torn country after a film Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) about girls skateboarding took home an Oscar for best documentary short at the Academy Awards.

Skateistan is an international non-profit organisation that uses skateboarding and education to empower children. It works in countries like Afghanistan, Southeast Asian states and South Africa where more than 2500 are trained and educated.

Out of 2500, almost 50% are girls. Through its innovative programs - Outreach, Skate and Create, Back-to-School, Dropping In and Youth Leadership - the organisation aims to give children the opportunity to become leaders for a better world. Skateistan has skate schools in Kabul and Mazar Shareef in Afghanistan.

Girls in Afghanistan are learning how to skate on a skateboard and they find it very amusing and find a rare sense of freedom in one of the conservative societies in the world.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) tracks the international charity's bid to teach young Afghan girls how to skateboard in the country, where few women are encouraged to participate in sport.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) is a short film or documentary made in 2019 by Carol Dysinger. It is based on the role of Skateistan in educating girls of war-torn Afghanistan, how to read, write and skate. The basic purpose of the organization is to encourage the girls to speak up their mind and make their presence felt.

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The film follows a group of young girls enrolled at the nonprofit who gain confidence and courage as they learn to skate on ramps and quarter pipes in Kabul amid frequent militant attacks and suicide bombings.

“Proud of them. We feel proud of my sisters. Wish further success for our champs,” wrote Afghan Facebook user Sodaba Samadi.

“Congratulations to our brave girls! This is a proud moment for all Afghan girls! They face harsh realities of everyday cruel life in a war zone but keep moving forward!” added Afghan journalist Shaista Sadat Lameh.

The film’s director Carol Dysinger also highlighted the plight of Afghan women during her victory speech.

“This film is my love letter to the brave girls of that country,” said Dysinger, as she praised the teachers from her own life and the ones at Skateistan in Kabul.

“They teach girls the courage to raise your hand, to say I am here, I have something to say, and I’m going to take that ramp — don’t try to stop me!”

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