Did you know that June 21st was “Go Skateboarding Day” in Afghanistan? Actually, the 21st is Go Skateboarding Day everywhere, but I didn’t realize there is a full-on skateboarding program in Afghanistan. I saw it mentioned in a photo caption in this slide show on the National Journal and ended up looping back to msnbc.com where my colleague John Makely had written it up on the Photoblog. And it’s not just a day, but a skateboarding school, through a program called Skateistan. The program, as you might guess, is designed to give the huge youth population in Afghanistan (42% of the Afghan population is under 14 years old and it has the highest proportion of school-aged children of any country in the world) something better to do than become entangled in war or crime. But Skateistan also plays an educational role, in subjects like health and civics as well as more formal studies like literacy.
Richard Engel described it as a skateboarding park when he was showing Rachel around Kabul in July 2010. I guess I should have figured out that it wasn’t an entirely organic development. Still, catching up on this story has made for an inspiring night of clicking.