Ethiopian Girl Skaters, a women-led group, has been empowering young girls through skateboarding in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
The group, founded by skateboarders Sosina Challa and Micky Asfaw, has taught about 150 young girls between 10 and 25 years old since December 2020.
The founders were initially part of the non-profit organization, Ethiopia Skate, which provide resources for young skaters in the country and even helped build major skateboarding parks in the capital.
However, co-founder Challa wasn’t completely comfortable with environment and worked alongside the group to create Ethiopian Girl Skaters.
In Ethiopia, the sport is almost entirely male-dominated and girls are often expected to stay at home and help their parents.
“It’s not really common for a girl to start skating because people don’t support you,” a 22 year-old woman skater told AFP.
Now in an all-women environment, the girls feel more at ease and comfortable learning the sport and practicing new tricks.
The group provides “a safe place from an environment characterized by experiencing sexist comments and a lot of anxiety,” a woman skater, Hermela Denkneh Seble, told Vogue.
After months of practice, girls feel more confident on the board and are just happy to skate.
Although some members compete, Challa emphasizes the importance of building a community instead.
“We try to build friendships, help other girls and build confidence,” the co-founder told Vogue.