The following story is brought to you by an interesting guy leading a great club in Afghanistan. Asghar Mehrban is a cyclist, and is forging new paths for bikers in Kabul. I wanted to share his story with our readers since it epitomizes the kind of youth leadership TQ is all about. Here is the story. ~Lisa
I am Asghar Mehrban. I am 18 years old and studying at the Physical Education & Sport Institute. I am head of the “Drop & Ride’s” bike freestyle team, and manager of “The Borderfree Afghan Cycling team”. I started to study bike freestyling when I was 15 years old. I wished to have a professional bike club to learn and train biking for kids, both boys and girls, where I could explore my people’s talents to the world.
Even with all of the security, cultural, social and economic problems that we have (in Afghanistan) we are not going to stop. I say “we are alive and stop means die”…
I was thinking about why girls can’t ride bikes in Afghanistan. It was clear, lots of Afghan people never wanted to see a girl biking; they are thinking that it’s a shame for their girls to ride a bike in an Islamic society like Afghanistan. In other countries, riding the bike for a girl is easy and simply, but for Afghan girls, riding the bike is like a dream, and so very difficult.
By competition of the Afghan Peace Volunteers NGO, we made the “Border Free Afghan Cycling Team” where every girl can join us, and learn to bike for free.
These are our goals.
- We the young generation of this country have extend our hands together to build a green and equal world for all men & women in Afghanistan.
- We encourage men, women, boys, and girl in Afghanistan to ride bikes.
- We also ask all to join us in wearing our blue scarf. The words, “Border Free” are embroidered in English and Dari by our Seamstress team, and they reflect our belief that we all live equal under the same blue sky.
- To encourage ALL people of the human family, worldwide, to ride bicycles. By cycling, we can each do our part to prevent further Global Warming. We know that around the globe, across all borders, climate change is altering the lands and waters we all depend upon for survival and we are leaving future generations with a very different world. We must do our part to stop damage to all life on this planet.
I asked Asghar a couple of questions:
Lisa: Do you ever feel in danger?
Asghar: Their speech is bad (verbal harassment).There are some places for picnic like Qargha- it’s too far. We want to ride everywhere but we can’t ride there or like this . There are a lot of gangsters annoying us. And people think that it’s not part of Islamic culture and we have to stop it.
Afghan youth are thinking about new things and they want some changes and they realize their human rights and respect them. But not all of them; others are thinking that old culture is better and women do not have some rights that the men have.
Lisa: What is a big wish that you have for your club?
Asghar: I will support my teams. And train them professionally. And also register the new members and help them if I cant. If I was rich I would make a bike club like Skateistan where the boys,girls and kids could train freely.
We are going to make the team larger but there is a lot of concern because the girls that can’t buy a bike (cannot afford to).
Lisa: Last message?
Keep calm and save the earth from Global Warming. In love Asghar Mehrban, the Borderfree Afghan cycling team and Drop and Ride bike freestyle team
Check out these links and follow Asghar’s groups on Facebook:
BorderFree Afghan Cycling Team on Facebook