The all-girls robotics team who made their nation proud of a more progressive Afghanistan, are now frantically seeking a way out of the country to continue their education in AI abroad.
Kimberley Motley, international human rights lawyer based in New York, told the Canadian Broadcast News that, "These girls are extremely terrified." Motely is trying to get the girls out to Canada to complete their education.
According to Motley, in Herat where the team is from they're telling girls: 'Don't come back to the university'. Women are showing up for work and are being turned away. They're seeing this and watching tearfully as their city is crumbling."
Herat, the third largest city in Afghanistan, was captured by the Taliban on their way to Kabul, spreading terror and a frantic search of escape for residents.
The Afghan Girls Robotics Team was created in 2017 by Roya Mahboob, an Afghan tech entrepreneur. She heads the Digital Citizen Fund which provides classes for girls in STEM and Robotics.
Team members range from 12 to 18 years of age, participated in the 2018 International Robotics Competition, devising their projects in two weeks instead of the standard four months granted to other participants. They achieved silver medal for "Courageous Achievement" in the competition.
The team also created a low-cost, lightweight ventilator in 2020 for coronavirus patients. It took the team almost four months to finalise the ventilator, which is partly based on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) design, and they received guidance from experts at Harvard University.
The team faced war and terror, yet still emerged stronger and ready to fight for their love for engineering. They were able to devise a low-cost ventilator for hospitals using car parts, during the coronavirus Pandemic. However, Motely fears the Taliban will force them to become child brides, ending their potential careers in AI.
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