Last updated at 10:24

It's all about Skateistan!

There's a new craze among the kids in Kabul - and it's on wheels. Check out our picture gallery.
Skateistan - a skating and education project in Afghanistan - was set up by Australian Oliver Percovich, who arrived in Kabul in 2007 with his skateboard. "The kids didn’t want to watch, they just ran straight to my skateboard... grabbed it and wanted to do it themselves," he says.
Oliver skating with some of his students
Skateistan is getting bigger, and on 23 May will open a new skate-park and education facility in Afghanistan's northern city of Mazar-e Sharif. The new buildings will be able to accommodate up to 1,000 students. It already has another facility in Cambodia.
Building a skating wall in Mazar-e Sharif
"Some children had seen skateboarding on advertisements from India," says Percovich, "but most hadn’t actually seen a skateboard in real life before."
Fundraising co-ordinator Erika skating in Bamiyan, July 2010
Nearly 40% of Skateistan's 400 students are female - girls and boys attend on separate days.
Girls holding skateboards
Percovich is aware of the particular issues girls and women face in Afghanistan - but says often the students themselves come up with solutions. "If the young girl is not allowed to go back to Skateistan because the older brother sees it as inappropriate, she cries for three days in order to be allowed back again, because we make it so much fun at the facilities."
Girl with a skateboard
Over 50% of the students work on the street but, Percovich says, it’s not just a project for very poor children. "We also have sons and daughters of government ministers. It’s very important to connect all of the children with each other" he says.
Girl skating in front of a crowd
Percovich wants to inspire the children that he works with, he says "If we can produce a few leaders, the ones that really show initiative, the ones that really apply themselves, I think we’re doing our job."
Girls smiling
It was extremely difficult to get Skateistan off the ground, says Percovich, because skateboarding is not seen as a very serious activity, especially within the development community. "A lot of people were scratching their heads saying what does this crazy guy want to do with skateboarding, there’s no streets [in Kabul] that are even smooth."
Boy skating against a mountain backdrop
Noorzai Ibrahim was one of the first kids to get involved in Skateistan - he is now one of the lead instructors. Skateistan is sending him to university where he hopes to study to become a doctor.
Noor Ibrahim skating
"They do a two-hour session once per week where they spend one hour in the classroom and one hour in the skatepark," says Percovich. "It's a combination of using the skateboarding as the hook, and then doing other activities that can broaden horizons for the children."
Girls learning on a laptop