Afghan Girls Given Entry to US for Robotics Competition After White House Intervention
After their visas were denied twice, the team of Afghan girls participating in the FIRST Global Challenge robotics competition in Washington, DC, finally made it to the United States after POTUS Donald Trump intervened and granted them entry.
The story about the robotics team from Afghanistan being denied visas, even though the country was not included in the list of Muslim-majority countries covered by the travel ban, was widely reported by various media networks.
The news apparently caught the attention of President Trump who prompted the Department of Homeland Security to rule in the girls’ favor.
The Afghan robotics team arrived in the U.S. Saturday and all the members are thrilled to finally have the opportunity to compete in the three-day event which would be participated in by 157 countries.
Fourteen-year-old Fatemah Qaderyu, one of the members of the robotics team told The Washington Post that, “We feel really good that we can show our talents here.”
“Afghanistan is not just a place of war. Afghan girls can build robots and compete in global competitions,” she added.
The Afghan girls were warmly received when they were first introduced in the competition. Loud cheers and thundering applause can be heard when the girls took the stage as can be seen in a Twitter video posted by Washington Post intern Sharif Hassan.
Dean Kamen, the founder of the FIRST Global shared that the purpose of the robotics competition goes beyond simply teaching the young participants to build robots or explore a potential career in science, math, engineering or technology but more importantly to instill the value of cooperation regardless of culture, language, and borders.
“FIRST Global is getting them at a young age to learn how to communicate with each other, cooperate with each other and recognize that we’re all going to succeed together or we’re all going down together,” Kamen said.
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