In 2020, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl), about skateboarding in Afghanistan and produced by Elena Andreicheva and Carol Dysinger, won the Oscar and British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards for best documentary short.
"We see so many negative stories about Afghanistan and this is a story of real hope which can help to challenge perceptions," Percovich said in her acceptance speech for the Academy Award.
"'Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You're A Girl)' follows a class of girls at Skateistan, a nonprofit that began as a skate school in Kabul in 2007 and grew into a multinational educational initiative. Skateistan focuses on recruiting girls from impoverished neighborhoods to not only teach them to skateboard, but to help them gain courage and life skills that will transcend skateboarding and the classroom to help them thrive and adapt to the challenges that lie ahead. Over the course of the school year, the girls grow and become empowered through the joy of skateboarding and the warmth and inspiration of the women who teach them."
Dysinger explains the significance of the program in an article for Deadline, "It means the world to them. I'm a teacher, I'm a professor, and I have never in my life seen kids that were so hungry to learn and just so happy to learn because they know it's not a given and they like being engaged with their minds," Dysinger tells Deadline. If not for Skateistan, she notes, the girls "would be very much in the house around the women helping out, hanging onto skirts, trying not to be bored and taking care of the boys or the babies, whichever there are more of or who needs it."
The film is available here.
You can read and listen to an NPR report here.