Those Afghan Girls Who Built a Robot? They Just Won Silver Medals

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Group of girls from war-torn country, whose US visas were twice rejected, win silver medal for ‘courageous achievement’. according to Al Jazeera.

The girls came to America with a dream.

Six burgeoning teen robotics engineers from rural Afghanistan felt certain that the robot they designed “Better Idea of Afghan Girls,” — an inspiring metal contraption that could speedily collect blue and orange balls in separate compartments — could compete against the best other robot creations from around the world in a global robot-off in Washington, D.C. this week.

Earlier this year they were denied entry into the US after two rounds of interviews as part of the travel ban enacted by President Donald Trump.

Sumaya Farooqi, Fatema Ghaderyan, Lida Azizi, Rodaba Noori, Fatima Qadiryan, and Alireza Mehraban had spent six months preparing their robot for the competition.

On Tuesday the judges recognized the Afghan team’s commitment to pursuing their robotic dreams regardless of the challenge and awarded them the medal, praising their “can-do attitude,” according to Al Jazeera.

“I am so excited, and very, very happy,” Ghaderyan told The New York Times. “I still can’t believe this happened.”

The girls were among 209 female participants in this year’s FIRST competition, about one-quarter of the 830 total participants, according to the report. There were also all-girl teams from the US, Ghana, Jordan, Palestinian territories, and Vanautu.

And there were teams from other war-torn countries like Afghanistan, too. The Syrian team named their robot “Robogee,” a combination of “robot” and “refugee” since all three members had fled the Syrian civil war to Lebanon three years ago, according to the report.

 

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