Children Creatively Map Their Communities

A female student studies a detailed map of Afghanistan during the mapping semester.

After finishing the 11th semester on colours, Skateistan Kabul started the new semester on mapping.  This semester included different activities, games, fun, online learning, drawing, spray painting the walls of Skateistan, and many more things that we can’t say in one or two pages.

During the first six weeks of the mapping semester, the students were introduced to the power of maps and mapping by studying a globe and a map of the world. The students studied all the elements that make up a world map - understanding the many oceans, defining country borders, identifying how many countries exist in the world, and how many famous mountains and rivers are in the world.  The students were also shown pictures of the world’s nicest and most famous places.

Then came the map of Afghanistan, where the students learned the history and geography of their country. Did you know that Afghanistan has existed for five thousand years?

“The map of Afghanistan is like an eagle” -  Hedayatullah, Skateistan Student

The students also learned about the minerals, rivers, and mountains of Afghanistan, its nicest places, and most famous royalty. Then, the students were allowed to paint a map of Afghanistan on the wall of Skateistan with spray paint! 

“Drawing on the wall was my wish” - Hamid, Skateistan Student

Using spray paint students created a map of Afghanistan and it's provinces.

After that, the students studied a map of Kabul. They learned about directions, and how they can find a place in Kabul even if they don not know anything about it. The activities were fun and involved many games, in one the students went into pairs and would ask one and other how to travel to and from locations across the city, “How can I get to Skateistan from Shahr-e-Naw?”. Using the map of Kabul the students would then give detailed directions allowing the other to arrive safely at their desired location.  The students then looked at Google maps online, which enabled them to see Kabul from a birds eye view. From this viewpoint they made personalised street maps of their city and even painted Skateistan from above!

Some students locate the Skateistan facility in Kabul.

Afterwards, the students made map legends out of paper, cartons and sticks. The legends included different symbols for schools, rivers, mountains, streets, safe and unsafe places, mosques, and more.  The symbols were then pressed onto boards.  During the activity, the students learned about which places are more secure for walking and playing, and which places are unsafe, and also how to decide which route is the most secure to get to a destination.

 In all, the students all really enjoyed themselves and had more fun than any semester before!

“Skateistan provides lessons which improve our mind” - Skateistan Students

Female students with some of the map symbols and signs created in the classroom.

The semester involved learning about the border and provincial regions of Afghanistan.