Afghan girls robotics team’s message for women in the country

The worldwide robotics competitors, held within the US in 2017, was an opportunity for the staff to indicate to the world what so many in their very own nation doubted — that ladies can accomplish something.

And attain they did, profitable an award for “brave achievement” given to groups who persevere by means of making an attempt circumstances. Although they did not place among the many world’s greatest groups within the general rating, they walked away proud and, crucially, with worldwide recognition.

It was that recognition that helped the women escape Afghanistan just a few months in the past, because the Taliban resurged.

The Taliban — notorious for banning girls from school and work once they final managed Afghanistan — swept again throughout the nation this summer season, toppling metropolis after metropolis, a terrifying change for educated, progressive ladies like these on the robotics staff.

“The Taliban had been taking on villages and neighboring provinces and so we determined to go away Afghanistan,” mentioned Kawsar Roshan, one of many staff’s members. “At the moment, our households weren’t even permitting us to go away the home for any cause, not even to go to lessons.”

With the assistance of assorted humanitarian teams worldwide, five of the original team members had been capable of flee Afghanistan.
From left to right: Fatemah Qaderyan, Kawsar Roshan, Saghar Salehi, Lida Azizi.

They left along with one older relative as a guardian and made the tough trek from the western Afghan metropolis of Herat to the capital of Kabul, leaving their houses in July.

There, they managed to get one of many final industrial flights out of Kabul sure from Islamabad, Pakistan.

It was in Pakistan {that a} plan started to type that ultimately led them to a rustic 1000’s of miles away — Mexico.

With the assistance of personal funding from varied humanitarian help teams, they made their manner from Pakistan to Doha, Qatar, the place after an invite got here from the Mexican authorities, the group boarded a industrial flight, stopping in Frankfurt, Germany earlier than touchdown in Mexico Metropolis.

The federal government right here has approved the women, all 17 or 18 years previous, to remain for at the least six months, with the choice of extending their time additional.

Martha Delgado, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Mexican Foreign Ministry, welcomed the young Afghan girls of the robotics team with a ride on September 19, 2021 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Among the staff spoke to CNN in a lodge convention room, preferring to not converse from the place they’re staying within the metropolis for security issues.

Fittingly, among the first ideas they shared had been about dwelling, criticizing the cruelty of the Taliban regime.

“The rule of their authorities is simply mockery, an insult to Islam,” mentioned Fatemah Qaderyan, an authentic staff member. “Islam is the faith of kindness. We kindly request not solely the US however your entire neighborhood, however your entire worldwide neighborhood to eradicate the Taliban technology from Afghanistan.”

They know that the US has restricted choices in that regard after its withdrawal in August. Additionally they understand how fortunate they had been to get out.

“It was actually onerous to, you already know, depart our beloved ones in Afghanistan,” mentioned Saghar Salehi, one other staff member. “However we’re glad that right now we’re secure not solely due to ourselves, however right here we will be the voice of 1000’s of women who wish to be secure in Afghanistan and who wish to proceed their training and may make their goals come true.”

How I became captain of the winning all-girls Afghan robotics team

That may be a a dwindling actuality for ladies in that nation. Within the weeks and months after the Taliban took over, their actions have reaffirmed a return to a society the place girls are handled as wholly unequal to males.

The group has ordered high schools to open only for boys, claiming that ladies want a “safe transportation system” earlier than returning. Militants have in some situations ordered girls to go away their workplaces, and when a bunch of ladies protested the announcement of the all-male authorities in Kabul, Taliban fighters beat them with whips and sticks.

Nonetheless, the staff has a message for these left behind.

“My message to my technology is that to please do not lose your hope,” mentioned Roshan. “I do know it is tough as a result of I am an Afghan woman, too, and I totally perceive you. However please do not lose your spirit, there’s at all times mild in darkness and simply make your dream and comply with your dream and imagine that sooner or later your dream will come true, as a result of I skilled that.

Regardless of the difficult circumstances of the previous a number of months, every younger lady is seeking to the long run and hopes to go to school subsequent 12 months someplace in the US. Unsurprisingly, they are going to every pursue careers in STEM fields.

Within the long-term, all of them mentioned that sooner or later they hope to have the ability to return to an Afghanistan freed from the Taliban and the repression they signify.

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