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Drop and Ride was foun­ded as a bike club in 2016 in Kabul, Afgha­ni­stan. The club offers cul­tu­ral events, bike trai­ning and edu­ca­tio­nal pro­grams for the youth of Kabul. Today, Drop and Ride is ope­ra­ted by the Peace and Free­style Orga­niz­a­ti­on (PFO), a non-pro­fit orga­niz­a­ti­on regis­tered in Afgha­ni­stan.

“Drop and Ride” sym­bo­li­zes “drop­ping” the wea­pon and “riding” a bike ins­tead. Drop and Ride resul­ted from a youth initia­ti­ve from West-Kabul that wan­ted to crea­te a bicy­cle club to address social pro­blems through sport. This is an important and uni­que offer for a cri­sis-rid­den and dan­ge­rous city like Kabul. Par­ti­cu­lar­ly note­wor­thy is the club’s effort to offer sports for boys and girls ali­ke. Drop and Ride wants to crea­te a safe envi­ron­ment for Kabul’s youth to enab­le sports, social exchan­ge and edu­ca­ti­on. The asso­cia­ti­on cur­r­ent­ly has about 50 mem­bers and is open to anyo­ne inte­res­ted.

The youth group offers trai­ning from basic cycling up to jumps and stunts on the moun­tain bike. The trai­ning is based on inter­net vide­os and the know­ledge is trans­fer­red from expe­ri­en­ced mem­bers to begin­ners. The regu­lar prac­ti­ce of sport and the self-orga­ni­zed and par­ti­ci­pa­ti­ve cha­rac­ter of the club ope­ned up new per­spec­ti­ves for boys and girls of Kabul and chan­ged their per­spec­ti­ve on the future of Afgha­ni­stan.

Drop and Ride embo­dies not only sports acti­vi­ties but also the social com­mit­ment of the mem­bers.

The club is stron­gly com­mit­ted to values, such as peace, demo­cra­cy and equa­li­ty bet­ween men and women. For this, Drop and Ride par­ti­ci­pa­tes in events and plans to host own events in the future in order to approach the­se topics through sport and cul­tu­re.

In the begin­ning, Drop and Ride con­sis­ted of loo­se trai­ning on public squa­res and streets in Kabul. Until today, Drop and Ride still orga­ni­zes a wee­kly group ride on the streets. In the mean­ti­me, howe­ver, the group mana­ged to meet main­ly for regu­lar trai­ning ses­si­ons on a clo­sed sports field, which offers more safe­ty and bet­ter trai­ning oppor­tu­nities. At the trai­ning area the club equip­ment is stored in a ship­ping con­tai­ner.

Drop and Ride was equip­ped with high-qua­li­ty sports equip­ment at the end of 2018 in a lar­ge-sca­le fund­rai­sing cam­pai­gn with the help of many pri­va­te indi­vi­du­als, clubs, com­pa­nies and sta­te insti­tu­ti­ons from Euro­pe.

Now Drop and Ride is equip­ped with high-end bikes, ramps, and pro­tec­ti­ve gear. The peop­le behind Aba­sha made this pos­si­ble and now we want to con­ti­nue to sup­port Drop and Ride in the long term.

For Afgha­ni­stan, the approach of offe­ring the trai­ning equal­ly to girls and boys deser­ves spe­cial men­ti­on.

Drop and Ride enab­les fema­le mem­bers to train in groups, some of which are sepa­ra­ted accord­ing to gen­der and some of which are mixed. Due to the com­mit­ment for this spe­cial offer, some fema­le mem­bers of the asso­cia­ti­on now have impro­ved their skills on the bike impres­si­ve­ly. This backs all fema­le mem­bers in dif­fi­cult social sur­roun­dings and hel­ps to open the restric­ti­ve role of women for them.

After the broad equip­ment with sports equip­ment and a sto­rage con­tai­ner, the focus is now on the deve­lo­p­ment of an edu­ca­tio­nal pro­gram, which will accom­pa­ny the spor­ting acti­vi­ties of the club.

Some mem­bers have alrea­dy com­ple­ted an advan­ced first aid cour­se tog­e­ther. Through the plan­ned cour­ses, mem­bers should deve­lop their skills, espe­cial­ly in the area of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. In this way, they can share their visi­on for a future Afgha­ni­stan bet­ter and impro­ve their pro­fes­sio­nal pro­spects. For this pur­po­se, they wish for cour­ses in Eng­lish and com­pu­ter use.

At the moment we are working on a wee­kly Eng­lish cour­se for begin­ners. This is enab­ling all inte­res­ted mem­bers of Drop and Ride to com­mu­ni­ca­te with the world­wi­de fan cir­cle of the asso­cia­ti­on. Through dona­ti­ons from Euro­pe the purcha­se of important tea­ching mate­ri­als was pos­si­ble and a local NGO pro­vi­des a class­room. The role of the tea­cher is initi­al­ly taken over by an expe­ri­en­ced girl from the asso­cia­ti­on with advan­ced Eng­lish skills. In the long run, the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the les­sons by a pro­fes­sio­nal tea­cher is plan­ned. For this, we are cur­r­ent­ly still lacking regu­lar dona­ti­ons.

Par­ti­cu­lar­ly with regard to the pro­po­sed cour­ses in the area of com­pu­ter use, hig­her cos­ts for the imple­men­ta­ti­on of a regu­lar edu­ca­tio­nal offer can be expec­ted in the future. Sup­port us!

The sup­port of Drop and Ride is the ori­gin of the idea for Aba­sha. Accord­in­gly, the sup­port for this pro­ject is very important to us. At Drop and Ride, young Afghans are com­mit­ted to sports as well as social issu­es. This requi­res cou­ra­ge and con­vic­tion becau­se the con­di­ti­ons in Kabul could hard­ly be more dif­fi­cult. We want to sup­port Drop and Ride on the dif­fi­cult path to a sus­tainab­le pro­ject struc­tu­re.  An important step in this direc­tion was the foun­ding of the NGO Peace and Free­style Orga­niz­a­ti­on (PFO) in Afgha­ni­stan. This will give ever­yo­ne invol­ved behind Drop and Ride new legal oppor­tu­nities and access to public fun­ding.

Drop and Ride faces many chal­len­ges in the long run. The situa­ti­on in Afgha­ni­stan hard­ly seems to impro­ve and their wil­ling­ness to work on sen­si­ti­ve issu­es such as equal rights and demo­cra­cy is ris­ky. Alt­hough Drop and Ride now has suf­fi­ci­ent sports equip­ment and a sto­rage con­tai­ner, the cur­rent trai­ning area at a foot­ball club is unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly only a tem­pora­ry solu­ti­on. The visi­on would be an own club area, on which a clo­se­ly inter­wo­ven sport, cul­tu­re and edu­ca­ti­on pro­gram can be offe­red.  Sin­ce the finan­cial situa­ti­on of most mem­bers is very dif­fi­cult, even the smal­lest mem­bers­hip fees can hard­ly be paid. In the long run, we want to find fun­ding with new pro­ject part­ners, which makes it pos­si­ble to offer all acti­vi­ties com­ple­te­ly free of char­ge.

More infor­ma­ti­on about Drop and Ride can be found here: The Sto­ry of Drop and Ride