Skate Sisters Mobina & Melika Talk Breaking the Mould & Never Giving Up
"A skater has to be open and friendly, but also courageous and patient. Patience is very important."
15 year old Melika & 18 year old Mobina came to Berlin 3 and a half years ago from Afghanistan. They have always had a passion for skateboarding and once they were here, they couldn’t wait to start skating! We caught up with the girls to talk to them about the incredibly brave stories of their past, their challenges, and their determination to encourage girls everywhere to pick up a board and take a leap of faith.
Would you like to briefly introduce yourselves and tell us who you are?
Melika: My name is Melika. I’m 15 years old and I skateboard.
Mobina: My name is Mobina and I’m 18 years old. I come from Afghanistan. I’ve been in Berlin for three and a half years and I’ve been skateboarding for two years.
When did you start skating?
Melika: Two years ago. We wanted to start because we love skating. We always wanted to skate, but we couldn’t do it in Afghanistan. Then we came to Germany and we could do it here. I got a skateboard from my pal and just started.
Do you remember why you definitely wanted to skate?
Mobina: Skating is a lot of fun for me. When you skate, you’re independent. You can skate alone and you can skate everywhere and you don’t always need a specific place. That's why I absolutely wanted to skate.
Mobina, what does skateboarding mean for you?
Mobina: Yes, it’s just like Melli said. It’s a sport that not so many women take part in. Maybe they think it’s too dangerous. But if boys can do it, girls can too. I mean, what do boys have that girls don’t have? It’s a bit dangerous, but cycling can be dangerous too sometimes. It’s nice that when you’re in a skate park, you always meet new people who help you, even if you’re a beginner and can’t skate yet. What I love about this sport is that everybody helps each other so you never stop learning new tricks.
What needs to happen from for more women to start skateboarding?
Mobina: I think that because so many guys can skate really well, some girls don’t try to skate because they’re simply afraid they might get laughed at. That’s why I would say girls need a place for themselves. A skate hall like the one where we have in Berlin where there’s dedicated girls’ session every Tuesday. There are always a lot of girls coming, like last week, there were 30 girls who showed up to skate. If there were more places like that where girls could just go and skate, then they would have nothing to be afraid of and they could improve faster.
How did skateboarding help you adapt to life in Germany?
Mobina: When we first arrived in Germany, we couldn’t speak German very well and we didn’t have many friends. I know a lot of girls who came from Afghanistan and they still don’t have so many friends and they still can’t speak German very well. I’m not saying I speak perfect German, but I learned the language faster because we get out of our house a lot and went out to do sports.
Melika: When you skate, you always meet new people and you have to speak German with them. Your ability to speak the language quickly improves. You get to know other kids and make a lot of friends, so you learn the ropes faster and get along better.
How do you try to motivate other girls to start skating?
Melika: I always try with my friends at school, for example. When I come to school with my skateboard, everybody comes up to me and asks, “Why do you go skateboarding and isn’t it too hard for a girl?” I tell them to just do it. Often, we meet in the skate hall and I’ll teach them how to skate.
Do you think it’s sometimes difficult to motivate other girls?
Melika: Yes, because they think skating is too dangerous and they prefer other sports like volleyball or basketball. Some kids simply don’t have time for skating.
Mobina: Nobody skates in my high school. Many kids have to go home right after school, either for tutoring or to do their homework.
How does it help to be sisters who both skate?
Mobina: It’s more practical and easier for us because if you’re alone, like a friend of mine is, then you might not always feel secure to go somewhere on your own to skate there. I always take my sister with me when I go to skate somewhere I’ve never been before. That way there are two of us…
Melika: …and we help each other.
Mobina: Exactly! It’s not as hard as when I’m alone someplace where I don’t know anybody.
Do you have role models of your own, either in your circle of friends or well-known skateboarders?
Melika: Vincent Milou and Denny Pham are some of my favourite skaters.
How do you motivate others to keep up skateboarding when they’re just starting out?
Melika: Last week, I met a guy in the skate hall, he was about 25, and he couldn’t do an ollie. He was embarrassed because he’s already 25 and the other kids are much younger and can already do an extremely good ollie. I told him nobody would care that he was just getting started because everybody was a beginner once. I told him to just go in and try. If it doesn’t work at first, that’s no problem. You just keep practicing. Nobody is going to ask you to leave a skate park because you’re a beginner. Simply ignore any hate around you and just keep at it.
What does it takes to be a good skater?
Melika: A skater has to be open and friendly, but also courageous and patient. Patience is very important. If you can’t do your trick on the first or second or third try, you have to be patient, keep practicing and not give up. Only those who never quit will ultimately land their trick.
Mobina: If you fall down, you have to get up again and continue training…
Melika: …and never give up.
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