It has been a year of travel difficulties, project setbacks, and family heartbreak, but this robotics team from Afghanistan doesn’t know what it means to stop breaking boundaries.
Back in July, Afghanistan’s all-girl robotics team made the headlines when their attempt to participate in the First Global Robotics Competition in the US was hampered by Trump’s travel ban on Muslims. The team’s visas were rejected twice with the girls’ plight attracting international attention which resulted in an intervention from Trump’s administration to grant them admission to the US and finished with a silver medal for courage at the competition in Washington, D.C.
Four months later, they are in the news again, as last week the six teenage girls bagged the Entrepreneur Award at the Robotex Festival in Tallinn, Estonia, the biggest robotics festival in Europe.
The Afghan Embassy in London tweeted congratulations to the girls, who are from Herat, the third-largest city in Afghanistan.
Congratulations to our Afghan Girls Robotics Team for winning the entrepreneur challenge in the biggest Robotics Festival in Europe in Estonia. #ProudAfghans #Robotex17 #AfgDigital pic.twitter.com/nIM6GudIul
— AfghanEmbassyLondon (@Afghan_Emb_LON) November 26, 2017
Their challenge in the competition was to showcase a prototype that could solve a real-world problem, and that customers would want to buy. They won with a robot that could use solar energy to support small-scale farmers in their fields. The winner was chosen by the thousands of spectators who attended the event.