My name is Shabana Saidali, I was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and the most part of my childhood was spent in Pakistan. Now I am 22 years old. In 2012 I joined Skateistan, a group that uses skateboarding to empower. as I got chance to work as a volunteer teacher and translator, then got the chance to work as Skateistan’s Sport Coordinator and since 2014 I have been working for Skateistan as the education coordinator in Kabul.
I am an independent person and I never depend on anyone, and I have confidence to do anything with the best result. Also I feel lucky that my family always supports me in my decisions. The first time I entered Skateistan it seemed to me very different compared to other places, and I saw that girls were skateboarding and they were looking very happy.
When I saw skateboarding for the first time it looked very difficult, but when I tried and listened to the help of my instructors to improve. I learned not only skateboarding but also skills such as communication. I have made lots of new international friends here, getting the opportunity to work with different organizations and embassies.
Each day Skateistan encouraged me to work with people from different backgrounds. I am very thankful that Skateistan gave me the opportunity to be involved with Afghan youth and to be part of their life and understand their problems.
Besides my work and all the activities, I also work very hard for my education. Right now I am studying Computer Science at the University of Dunya. I would like to thank the Afghanistan Skills Development Project that helps students to continue their studies for free, that also created this great opportunity for me to study at Dunya.
At Skateistan I took part in a UN Youth Leadership camp and visited Berlin for the first time. During the camp I had the chance to talk to people from different places such as Africa, Palestine, Poland and Germany. Now I know that facing problems is quite a normal thing. We should not be scared of problems, but the key point is dealing with them with patience.
I find women really interested to work and be independent, but there are lots of problems in front of them that stop them from growing up very well and proving themselves in society. If we can increase educational and sports opportunities for women, as a start, I am sure that we can create change in Afghanistan.