After being denied their visas twice, a six-girl robotics group from Afghanistan finally made it to the FIRST International Problem in Washington, D.C. There, the ladies demonstrated their robotic in competitors in opposition to groups from greater than 150 different nations, together with a refugee team and groups from the nations on Trump’s notorious journey ban.
Although their robotic was not a high finisher, the Afghan group was awarded a silver medal for brave achievement, formally named the Rajaa Cherkaoui El Moursli Award for Brave Achievement, on the closing ceremonies – a recognition of how laborious they needed to struggle simply to be there. From pushing again in opposition to sexist concepts about ladies and training, to ending the problem regardless of receiving their supplies later than all the opposite opponents, to touring lots of of miles simply to use for his or her visas, they needed to work thrice as laborious for privileges that most of the different groups may take as a right. The 2 different groups acknowledged for his or her brave achievement have been South Sudan, who took the gold, and Oman, who took the bronze.
(The Problem’s different awards had equally reflective-of-real-life names, together with the Dr. Mae Jemison Awards for Worldwide Unity, the Ustad Ahmad Lahori Awards for Innovation in Engineering, and the Zhang Heng Awards for Engineering Design. It’s virtually like STEM isn’t solely pioneered by white dudes…Who knew?)
Although lady opponents on the Problem have been outnumbered 830, to 209, Al Jazeera reviews that at the least 5 different nations have been additionally represented by all-girl groups: Ghana, Jordan, Palestine, the United States, and Vanuatu.
Along with the success of Afghanistan’s group, one of many different heartwarming tales from the FIRST International Problem was the collaboration between the Iranian group and a bunch of U.S. highschool college students. Because of the sanctions in opposition to Iran, the Iranian group didn’t obtain the supplies for his or her problem in any respect. And so whereas they designed the robotic, that they had some assist assembling it from college students at George C. Marshall highschool in Falls Church, Virginia. “Our group this 12 months has some American members,” they wrote on their team page. “As a result of we didn’t have a pack and our associates in Washington made our concepts as a robotic. Mr. Sam Allen. Expensive Elena, Kiki, Christian, and the opposite variety individual.”
Nonetheless, amongst all of the joyful tales, there’s additionally a tragic near this competitors. The six teenagers representing Burundi have gone missing. Whereas two of the kids have been seen crossing the border into Canada, the opposite 4 haven’t been positioned but. Anybody with useful details about their whereabouts is urged to contact authorities at 202-727-9099.
Whereas I’m certain the FIRST International Problem will ultimately rework into some horrible branding alternative for a large tech firm, all these tales about younger college students serving to one another to construct robots and have a good time STEM are undeniably great – and I’m particularly glad that these ladies received an opportunity to compete in any case they went via.
Subsequent 12 months’s competitors will happen in Mexico. One hopes that by then we’ll have a world with out Trump’s grotesque journey ban – and one with no new, equally grotesque wall between the competitors’s first dwelling and its second.
(By way of Al Jazeera and Washington Post; picture through Shutterstock)
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