In Afghanistan girls can't ride a bike. But they are allowed to skateboard

Skateistan was set up in 2007 by Oliver Percovich to help empower and educate children in Afghanistan through skateboarding and other educational activities.

The reason the organisation chose skateboarding was simple: in Afghanistan girls are not allowed to ride bicycles - but they are allowed to ride skateboards.

British photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson has been working with Skateistan since 2012 to produce this series of portraits, Skate Girls of Kabul. The images are now on display at London's Saatchi gallery.

I met so many impressive women and girls in Afghanistan: a teacher as tough and determined as any man; young Afghans in their early twenties who were volunteering at an orphanage and were passionate about being seen as strong and willing to fight for themselves, rather than as victims of circumstance; and girls who were being educated to be leaders in their communities and who were already thinking carefully about their own and their country’s future.

And of course there were the young skate girls, so fun to be around and so totally unspoilt.

I feel lucky to have met them. I hope that this collection captures something of their spirit: their joy in life, their individuality and their community.

  • Jessica Fulford-Dobson

All images © Jessica Fulford-Dobson. Skate Girls of Kabul is on display at the Saatchi gallery until April 28.

More: In pictures: The Afghanistan you never see

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