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Skateistan feature in Kabul's first ever TEDx event


Skateistan feature in Kabul's first ever TEDx event

Afghan NGO Skateistan attended the first ever TEDxKabul event, participating with skateboarding demonstrations and the contributions of two speakers.

On 11 October 2012 the first ever TEDx event was organised in Kabul, Afghanistan. The day-long event, hosted by the French Cultural Center, included speakers from a large range of social, cultural and entrepreneurial projects across the country.

During the morning and lunchtime breaks Skateistan was invited to give a skateboarding demonstration. Ten of our students and skateboard instructors (5 boys and 5 girls) came along to showcase their skills.

We are also extremely proud that two of the speakers at the event were Skateistan's very own staff members, Mariam Shareefy and Madina Saidy - featured during the Conflict and Culture session.

Mariam spoke about a deep rooted 'copy and paste' culture, which she believes to be endemic in Afghanistan's culture and education system. Her speech was one of only two speeches to receive a standing ovation. A university lecturer in the creative arts even mentioned at the start of his speech that Mariam had made him think twice about the speech he was about to give!

Madina (14), skateboarded onto the TEDx stage and told the captivating story of her childhood, of how she supported her 9-member family through working on the streets of Kabul, and how she eventually got involved in skateboarding and with Skateistan. Madina has been a volunteer skate teacher with Skateistan since early 2011, and staff since early 2012.

Following TEDx, the online and community response to Mariam and Madina's talks have been inspiring. In the coming weeks the talks will be available to stream from the TEDxKabul website and featured on the Skateistan blog.

Involvement in the event further raises the profile of the Afghan NGO, following the expansion of the organisation into Pakistan (2010) and Cambodia (2011), and the 2011 release of a full-length documentary. The organisation uses skateboarding as a tool for empowerment by providing access to education and helping to develop the skills of young people, with a particular focus on girls and working children.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team. Visit the Skateistan website to view the original article.]


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Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 23:00