Afghan All-Girls Robotics Team Members Arrive Safely to Mexico, Offered College Scholarships to Prestigious U.S. Universities
Five members of an all-girl Afghan robotics team have arrived safely in Mexico after fleeing their home country following the Taliban takeover. “We give you the warmest welcome to Mexico,” said Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Martha Delgado during a news conference.
The team members thanked the government for saving their lives and providing opportunity and hope in Mexico. The country has pledged to air Afghan women and girls.
“We are happy to be here,” said Fatemah Qaderyan, a member of the team, according to local media reports. “From now on we will have opportunities for many more achievements in our lives,” she added.
The robotics team is made up of girls as young as 14, and has been spotlighted for winning international awards for its robots. In March, the team began working on an open-source, low-cost ventilator as the coronavirus pandemic hit their home nation.
Allyson Reneau, a mother of 11 from Oklahoma, first met the girls at a 2019 conference and helped them escape Afghanistan this week. She traveled to Qatar herself to help file the paperwork and get the girls out of Kabul.
“I got a text from one of the girls that just said: ‘We did it.’ All the emotion from two weeks of work and running into a wall constantly, and burying your feelings, and bearing your feelings for the girls, it just hit me all at once,” Reneau told Insider.
Reneau said the girls are figuring out their next move, but they have already received “an abundance of scholarship offers from incredible universities” in the U.S.
“For the first time in their life, I really believe they have the freedom to choose and to be the architects of their own destiny and their own future,” she said. “It’s the freeing feeling to me to know that they will be able to go somewhere and get educated wherever they want.”
Image source: Assembly, a Malala Fund publication