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Girls Skate!

TEAM SPIRIT Challa and EGS cofounder Micky Asfaw (right) pose with girls from the skate club. EDUARDO SOTERAS—AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Sosina Challa lives in Ethiopia. That’s in Africa. When she was about 16, she saw a group of boys skateboarding in a parking lot. “I used to watch skateboarding in the movies,” Challa told TIME for Kids. “But I never got the chance to try.” That changed. “I just asked if I could try to skate,” she says. “It was fun!”

POWER UP Sosina Challa helped start Ethiopian Girl Skaters in 2020. The group supports girls’ physical and mental well-being.


At the time, skateboarding was still pretty new in Ethiopia. The sport was male-dominated, just as it is today. But Challa was hooked. She wanted girls to experience skateboarding. So in 2020, she teamed up with her friend Micky Asfaw to start Ethiopian Girl Skaters (EGS). The club provides free skateboarding lessons to girls and young women. “It’s not just about skateboarding,” she says. “We try to build a community.”

Lessons Learned

ON A ROLL An EGS member gets a lesson at the Addis Skatepark, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


EGS lessons take place on Saturdays at Addis Skatepark. It’s in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city. Each session has about 35 students. “You get skating sessions and friendship and family,” skater Kenan Menasse recently told VOA Africa. “That’s the best.”

Club members come from diverse backgrounds. Some need help paying for school materials and fees. Others need mental health support. “They go through a lot, so we try to mentor mentor THE GOOD BRIGADE—GETTY IMAGES to guide or teach someone (verb) The musician mentors younger players. them,” Asfaw says. “Skateboarding is a bridge for us to connect with the girls.”

Join the Club

FOCUS A skateboarder practices her moves.


Skateboarding was popularized in California in the 1960s. But it didn’t take off in Ethiopia until about 10 years ago. “It’s just growing,” Asfaw says. “It’s an interesting, extreme sport.”

“When I started skateboarding,” Challa says, “there were no girls actively participating in the skate community because of the stereotype stereotype MASKOT—GETTY IMAGES a widespread, simplified idea about something (noun) The stereotype that only boys like toy cars is not true. .” In traditional Ethiopian society, she explains, girls are expected to stay home and help their parents. “The sport is for everyone,” she tells adults who may be hesitant to let their daughters join the club.

YOU CAN DO IT Challa coaches a young skateboarder. She says her students range in age from 5 to 25.


“Everyone in the community helps each other,” Challa says about EGS and its members. “That’s how we try to build our sistership.”

Get On Board


Look closely at some of the skateboards used at Addis Skatepark, in Ethiopia. You’ll see the word desta. Desta means “joy” or “happiness” in Amharic. That’s an official language of the country.

Kids in Ethiopian Girl Skaters ride donated boards. Some of these boards are from Desta. “This is the first skateboarding brand in Ethiopia,” Micky Asfaw told TFK. He and Sosina Challa are also the company’s cofounders.

“Now we’re trying to open a shop,” Asfaw says. He and Challa hope more people in Ethiopia can feel the same joy they get from skateboarding.