The Afghan all-girls robotics team is racking up the victories this year.
When attempting to travel to the U.S. for the FIRST Global Challenge robotics competition this past summer, the team was denied entry twice for unknown reasons. But at the last minute, they were able to enter the country with intervention from the government and finished with a silver medal for courage at the competition in Washington, D.C.
Last weekend, the six teenage girls scored another major win, earning 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
In July, we spoke with New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who worked behind the scenes to help persuade the State Department to let the team enter the country before President Trump intervened. She's a champion of STEM education efforts and girls' education around the world.
"It was very inspirational to meet them," she told Refinery29. "I was particularly interested because we tried to help in our office to work with the State Department on getting them visas. I sit in both the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee. And so I have followed very closely, as have so many in America, the end of the Taliban rule and Afghanistan opening up its society, getting girls in school.
"To think they overcame all these obstacles, they finished with a silver medal for courage for what they did. They all had their medals on and they showed them very proudly. That's a wonderful example for people around the world of what can be accomplished with commitment and support when you have the determination to do it."