The Forgotten Childhoods
This blog is dedicated to my beautiful nieces and nephews who I love more than anything in this world. This weekend's experience made me realise how important their childhood is and how I wish I was a bigger part of it.
When I first heard about this NGO that teaches Afghan street kids how to skateboard, I was immediately intrigued. With all the development activities that happen in this country, you can’t help but wonder what is actually going on. Who is remembering the forgotten childhoods?
Everyday as I drive to and from my various meetings, or walk the streets of Kabul, I am approached by small Afghan children trying to sell me chewing gum, a pair of dirty old socks, or sometimes good fortune
as they wave a piece of burning charcoal under my nose. These children are not in school, their parents have sent them out to work the streets because this is the only option to keep them fed and ultimately alive.
It is these same children who are part of the SKATEISTAN
The kids come running into the spacious indoor skate park. I can tell that some of them have come straight from work, with their wind burnt faces, filthy shalwar kameez's and tattered clothing. But now none of this matters as they excitedly rush to put on their protective gear ready to start their class.
the skate park
I found this scene quite ironic as they hurriedly put on the padding that would protect them for the next hour of their lives only to go back to the street to face all sorts of unimaginable horrors. I think of my nieces and nephews of the same age and understand that these Afghan children are the same as them. They want to be loved, they want to laugh, they want to play and have fun like any other child. And for this hour they can live this life.
After the warm up there was a sudden and energetic eruption as all of the kids scattered in all directions and hit the ramps. Many were eager to show me their tricks, show me their talents and not only that, they were eager to learn. They crowded around their teacher, Sophie, absorbing her words and instructions like little sponges soaking up every last drop of information. Skating was not only something they were good at but something they could get better at. Skating gave them something to work towards and showed them that the future is in their hands. They have control.
And so the forgotten childhoods are a little less forgotten than before.
dedicated to Jaida, Jamal and Camron