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Story of Afghan All-Girl Team wins the hearts in their FIRST Global Challenge

Source: NY times

All-girls team from Afghanistan, who were earlier denied USA visas to take part in the Washington Robotics competition reached the United States early on 16th of July after the US President Donald Trump intervened to help their entry to the country. The team will attend the prestigious FIRST Global Challenge alongside teams from over 150 countries across the globe. This not-for-profit charity organization helps in inculcating passion and hopes among the high school students from around the world. After the successfully screening in the initial rounds, the competitors get about four weeks to build their own robot.

Earlier, the issues received severe public backlash when the team’s visa applications to attend the competition in the US were denied twice. Soon, Donald Trump inquired the officials at the National Security Council to help in this regard, and they sought the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security’s assistance in the matter. Further, the Department of Homeland Security agreed to allow the team to enter the United States on temporary ‘parole’ status. This allowed the girls to stay for a brief period in the country without an official Visa, on the basis that there is a public good associated with their visit. The girl’s team from the war-torn country of Afghanistan was exclusively welcomed and applauded by Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald Trump. Their participation in the competition was cited as the representation of a country’s resilience and aspirations, despite have been brought up in a perpetual battle.

The girls will competed with over 150 teams from different countries where they will be prepared and present a robot that are built to recognize and distinguish blue and orange. Their robot was titled, ‘Better Idea of Afghan Girls’. Further with the progression of the competition, they tweaked certain things and made slight adjustments to increase its efficiency.

Kawsar Roshan during a practice session with her team’s robot. Credit Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press source: NY times

Following the earlier denial of visas, organizers of the competition had arranged a team of Afghan-American students who reside in the US to take part in the competition on behalf of the girls group. The team faced seemingly insurmountable hurdles to even get to a level where they could seek permission to attend the competition in the United States. In a country where girls are often discouraged from pursuing academics, participating in an International robotics competition is no small feat.

The robotics competition primarily aims at convening nations and bring people under the same roof along the way to achieve the common goal and show that our similarities greatly overpower our differences. Participants from Iran, Syria, and Sudan were also granted visas to attend the FIRST Global Challenge. Similar to Afghanistan, a team from Gambia also faced difficulty as their visa applications were rejected during the first phase, and were granted permission to take part in the competition.

Story of Afghan All-Girl Team wins the hearts in their FIRST Global Challenge
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