All-girl Afghan robotics team denied visas

An all-girl robotics team in Afghanistan will be participating in its first robotics competition via Skype later this month after they were denied entrance to the United States to attend in person.

The girls, from Herat in western Afghanistan, sent their robot via mail to the FIRST Global Challenge Competition in Washington, D.C., because their visa applications to the United States were denied.

The competition draws high school teams from all over the globe, and is a yearly event meant to inspire children in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.

The girls started learning robotics in January, and within two weeks, had produced their first robot.

Building their competition robot was a lot harder though. While other competitors received their materials in March, the package sent to the Afghan team was held up in the mail for months over concerns of terrorism, and the team resorted to using household materials instead, The Washington Post reported.

The team was sponsored by the the Digital Citizen Fund (DCF), a nonprofit that helps youth and females in developing countries get access to technology and train in skills that make them competitive in the 21st century.

The team was selected to represent their country at the competition.

“No one knows about the future but if you want something you can achieve it, therefore we did our best and we hope that our robot could get a position along other robots from other countries,” 14-year-old Fatemah Qaderyan told Reuters.

The girls still do not know why their visa applications were denied.

By Holly Kellum for NTD

 
 
 
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