Donald Trump Paves The Way For Afghanistan’s All Girls Robotics Team To Compete In The FIRST Global Challenge
This weekend when the FIRST Global Challenge kicks off at Washington D.C.’s Constitution Hall an all girl teen group of robotics students from Afghanistan will not have to watch from home on Skype. Instead, President Trump intervened after the girls’ Visas had been denied twice.
We first reported on this story two weeks ago after it was widely reported that the all girls team had been denied entry for the contest. This was after they overcame much adversity to participate in the first place. When the FIRST Global Challenge sent out their robotics kits, the Afghan team’s equipment was held up in customs over fear that it was somehow terrorist supplies. The girls overcame this obstacle by creating their robot with household items. Their robot, like all the others in the competition, is supposed to contribute to improving access to water globally.
The girls also literally risked their lives, not once, but twice, as they had to go to the Capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, to visit the American Embassy to apply for their visas in the first place. The route to Kabul is often stricken by terrorist bombs and even suicide killings.
When President Trump, and his daughter Ivanka, first heard about the girls being denied entry into the global contest for teenagers, the president was outraged and reportedly asked national security advisors what they could do to make an exception.
The girls are being allowed into the country under a policy called “Parole” where they can stay for 10 days under extreme circumstances. In this case, the girls are serving as global ambassadors for Afghanistan. Since 2001 US troops have been in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and other terror groups. One of the initiatives for the US armed forces was to bring better access to education for women and girls in the country. Afghanistan was also NOT one of the countries Trump was trying to ban entry from.
Now the girls are headed to the United States where they will compete with over 100 robotics teams.
The Trump administration made a statement via Dina Powell, the President’s deputy national security advisor: “The State Department worked incredibly well with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that this case was reviewed and handled appropriately,” Powell said. “We could not be prouder of this delegation of young women who are also scientists — they represent the best of the Afghan people and embody the promise that their aspirations can be fulfilled. They are future leaders of Afghanistan and strong ambassadors for their country.”
You can find out more about the FIRST Global Challenge, here.