After visa delays, Afghan girls robotics team arrives in D.C. for competition

After visa delays, Afghan girls robotics team arrives in D.C. for competition

Afghan teenagers from the Afghanistan Robot Area take photos with a cell phones at Herat World Airport prior to embarking for the Usa. The staff of Afghan girls who were in advance denied visas to attend a Washington robotics festival landed in the U.S. early Saturday (Hoshang Hashim/AFP/Getty Photographs

With two phrases — “Staff Afghanistan” — the group assembled in the stands at DAR Charter Corridor erupted right into a deafening roar Sunday because the teenager-elderly ladies made their means onto a sprawling stage, waving their usa’s flag and wearing head scarves in matching colours.
Their positive front at the degree Sunday at the FIRST International Robotics Challenge marked the tip of a long and uncertain journey to the U.S. As of ultimate week, their dream of traveling to what has been billed because the “Olympics of Robotics” had been shot down while their visas were denied, regardless of two grueling trips from their home in Herat to Kabul for interviews with the U.S. State Department.

But after their plight made international headlines, President Trump intervened on the last minute to provide the ladies passage to the U.S., and so they arrived Saturday.

Afghan girls team can travel to U.S. for robotics contest after being denied visas twice

Status in the busy hallway of Charter Hall, at the same time as her teammates tinkered with the robot local, Fatemah Qaderyu said she was elated to in any case make it here from her homeland in Herat, in western Afghanistan. The 14-12 months-old needs to check computer technology whilst she gets older.
“We feel specialized that we can show our skills right here,” stated Fatemah. She mentioned she hopes to turn the world what girls like her are able to: “Afghanistan is not just a place of struggle. Afghan women can build robots and compete in world competitions.”

the moment #Afghan robot women walked at the stage.

— Sharif Hassan (@MSharif1990) July 16, 2017

The 3-day competition attracts groups from 157 international locations — and a few multinational teams representing continents. One team  — Group Wish — consists of refugees. FIRST has lengthy hosted competitions within the U.S., however this is the first year it’s hosting a world pageant. The workforce representing the U.S. is composed of three ladies, who marched into the auditorium for the parade of nations to the Woody Guthrie music “This Land is Your Land.”

These girls have built robots since they were toddlers. Now they’re competing on a world stage.

The world nature of the contest came with headaches. Besides the girls from Afghanistan, the team from Gambia additionally had issues with their visas, in step with the Associated Press, earlier than their programs have been additionally ultimately approved. on account of sanctions, International FIRST was once not able to ship a robotics equipment to Iran, where a bunch of teenagers used to be looking forward to the parts to construct a robot.

that might have spelled the end of the group’s shot of going to the arena championships. but the organization introduced them to a group of teenage-aged robotics enthusiasts at Marshall Prime in Fairfax County, Va. calling themselves Crew Gryphon. The staff in Iran sketched out blueprints on the pc and despatched the designs to their opposite numbers across the ocean, and then corresponded over Skype.

Sunday, the team flew the Iranian flag at their station next to the flag of Group Gryphon — a black flag with a pink silhouette of the gryhpon — as an indication in their not likely partnership. For Mohammadreza Karami, the workforce’s mentor, it was an inspiring instance of cooperation.

“It’s imaginable to solve all of the world’s problems if we set aside our politics and deal with peace,” Karami mentioned.

Kirsten Singer, a SIXTEEN-12 months-old emerging junior at Marshall Top, said she desired to didn’t want the group to be locked out of the contest just because of the sanctions.

“Everyone have to be capable of compete … and to be informed and to make use of that experience for different facets in their existence,” Singer mentioned.

Staff creator Sharif Hassan contributed to this story. 




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