Our friends at Skateistan - Afghanistan's first Skate School - succumbed to the tragic injustice that is a pre-meditated explosion, last Saturday. Of the 6 Afghani children lost in the incident, 4 were involved in Skateistan. Our hearts and support go out to the survivors and families of those who perished. Please take a moment to read about what you can do to support the brave people at Skateistan.
On September 8, 2012, an attack in Kabul, outside the International Security Assistance Force HQ destroyed the livelihoods of the already impoverished area – many youths sell trinkets and gum to support their large families – and took the lives of others.
Volunteers and students that make up Afghanistan’s first Stake School – Skateistan – were caught in the midst of the chaos. Their passion for, involvement in, and joy they brought to the sport that put smiles on many children’s faces is the proud legacy they’ll leave.
Four students, 3 of whom are pictured above, Khorshid, Parwana (Khorshid’s sister), Nawab, and Mohammad Eeza had their lives claimed by the attack and are remembered by their peers at Skateistan, as stated on their official website, as " beautiful human beings who will never be forgotten by their teachers, peers, co-workers, students, friends or family."
“Nawab lived his life loving skateboarding. Always practising to master the kick flip… In comic book class I have his drawings of him becoming a great skateboarder and winning an Olympic medal.”
Lomography, and the world, have been lucky enough to have seen Afghanistan and Skateistan through the eyes and photographs of the youths, who don’t have access to much, let alone cameras. Read about the collaboration, back in 2011, here.
Jake Simkin, Skateistan’s multimedia instructor, talked to us earlier this year about the progression of projects he’s involved in, in Afghanistan, to further the education of Afghani youths. While he’s alright, his Tumblr contains his deep and heavy reflections to the incident.
“I was more than just a teacher, I felt like their parents… My first reaction when the emergency text came in about the attack was to contact Merza straight away. Faisal was Merza’s brother. Merza said he was in Emergency Hospital right now. I could feel my heart sinking…”
“Flashes of the days of the fountain skating came forward. Of photographing all the boys and them wanting me to film or photographing their latest trick.”
Jake Simkin’s heartfelt post ends with these powerful words that can teach and inspire us all:
“A week before I taught a one day photography workshop on the psychology of photography and to express feeling into your photos. There was a boy Jawed from Uruzghan who I taught the photography there when he was sixteen. He been so inspired by my class, he had continued on taking photos working for ministries and NGOs. I was so proud of him for following his passion.
I believe this is what I came here to do in Afghanistan.
Why I stayed so long.
To watch over the youth to achieve their dreams and hopes.
To inspire them.
Express themselves wherever it be sport, music, art, photography, to give them a chance.
And if terrible things were to happen, I would fight for a country that wasn’t mine for keeping these children’s dream alive."
Stakeistan has set up an Emergency Fund to provide assistance to students and their families in times of need, such as this. We encourage you to visit their page here and email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, or visit their main contact page to inquire into any other ways in which you can show support.