Afghanistan has enough problems on an international level, so it’s despairingly sad to see how the ethnic, wealth and gender barriers at the domestic level are fogging any hope of a peaceful future. While a century’s worth of hate and division continues to deeply plague the country, skateboarder Oliver Percovich has found somewhat of a silver lining. In May 2007, he established Skateistan, a non-governmental organization whose goal was to open its first skate park facility in Kabul, Afghanistan in order to provide the children of Kabul with an escape from violence.
The mission was successful, and the documentary “Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul” follows the founders of the movement in 2009 as they try to grow the grassroots skateboarding project and construct Afghanistan’s largest indoor sports facility. While the sport has provided a multitude of Afghani youth with an opportunity to avoid the war torn politics of the country, it’s also proving to be a groundbreaking activity since it’s the only sport women are allowed to practice in public. Globally, 5% of skaters are female; in Afghanistan 40% of skaters are female. Not only are these Afghan girls finally getting the chance to join a community, but they’re also becoming trailblazers for women in one of the most “radical” sports on the planet. Clearly, these documentarians are making positive changes in a country that desperately needs them.