Skateistan Alumni: Meet Tamim

Skateistan recently launched its Alumni Network, a way for fomer students to connect and inspire each other. One such former student is Tamim, who attended Skateistan programs in Mazar-e-Sharif. Tamim embodies what it means to be a Citizen of Skateistan, as we found out recently in a conversation with him. Tamim tells his story in his own words. 


My name is Tamim, and I’m 20 years old. I am from kind of a big family and we live together in Mazar-e-Sharif. Actually we are from Parwan province, but due to the internal fighting there, we moved to Mazar-e-Sharif to live in peace. I have three brothers and three sisters, among them only my father is working to make money for us all to live! I just graduated from school and am seeking a job to help my father. My brothers and sisters are all attending primary school to make a better future for themselves and my father is supporting them all. 


I am a former Skateistan student. I started coming to the program in 2016 and continued for almost three years which was really fun and also useful in my personal life. Before attending Skateistan I went to school and studied my lessons, and that was the only thing I had to do. I am deaf and people thought that because I’m disabled, I can’t do anything else! There was no one to push me to do sports or anything else, so I had to sit at home and do nothing. 


After participating in Skateistan programs I learned a lot of things that I never thought I could do because of my disability. In Skateistan I found my talent and became brave through education and sports taught by kind educators. When I saw skateboarding for the first time, I thought it might be impossible for me because I’d never done any kinds of sports. But after I tried it was really fun and I found I could learn and improve. Besides skateboarding, I also learned how to play football at Skateistan, which made me join FC Public-Health football team which is one of the famous and supported teams in the city of Mazar. 


Now my favorite thing to do is sport, especially football and skateboarding. I love skateboarding because it gives me positive energy. It makes me feel that I am not disabled and I can do things like others. 


In Afghanistan there are many people who come from poor backgrounds and most of them are seeking help to meet their daily needs. I’m one of them, but I’m always looking to help people in any way I can. Recently I heard a lot from the Public Health body that advises people to protect themselves from COVID19. I saw that there are some people who can't even buy a mask for themselves, so I decided to find a solution! I was motivated to make masks by myself and give them to people in the community, because at least I will be able to serve other human beings. I worked for three days, day and night to make 500 masks for those who could not afford one themselves.

After I made the masks I went to the Public Health body and to the Municipality to let them know that I’m going to present these masks to the poor people around the Blue Mosque (a famous mosque in Mazar-e-Sharif). So by approval of both government branches I went to give the masks to the people. They were really happy and appreciated what I did! It makes me feel brave and opens ways to consider different aspects to help people from nothing. 


Tamim has made his father proud by the kindness and determination he has shown.

“Tamim is my older son and he is a meek person. All our family members and our neighbors love him. He is deaf but he has never let that stop him communicating with others and helping his brothers and sisters to study. It’s because he knows the impact of education in daily lives. Before, I thought that Tamim might not be able to go to school and study because he’s deaf, but after a while I realized that he is able to do things like others. Skateistan has impacted a lot in his life because he learned a lot from his educators. Before attending Skateistan sometimes he was confused because there was nothing for him to do, but after attending Skateistan he is motivated to attend other governmental places including FC Public-Health football team, which is not easy to be a member of. I’m thankful for Skateistan because they helped Tamim to see the bigger picture, and made him not think that he is a disabled.”

Skateistan needs support at this time to keep providing support and assistance to our students and their families. If you're in a financial position to do so, please consider making a donation to Skateistan today.