Afghan girls robotics team will compete in the U.S. after all

In Reversal Afghan Girls Get US Visas To Attend Robotics Competition

A team of Afghan girls who were denied entry to the U.S.to compete in a robotics competition are now going to be allowed in, thanks to.

The u.s. authorities had initially prohibited the participation in this contest to several pupils or students from countries with a muslim majority, in line with the more stringent policy in terms of visas, adopted by the administration of president Donald Trump.

Without the reversal, the girls would have had to watch via video link from their hometown in western Afghanistan.

A Homeland Security Department spokesman told The Washington Post this week that it had approved a request from the U.S. State Department for the six Afghan girls on the robotics team and their chaperone to enter the country and attend the competition.

"I truly believe our greatest power is the power to convene nations, to bring people together in the pursuit of a common goal and prove that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences", the group's president, former Navy admiral Joe Sestak, said in a statement. He credited "the professional leadership of the U.S. State Department" for ensuring that all 163 teams from 157 countries, including a team of Syrian refugees, would be able to participate.

Students from The Gambia also had their visa rejection overturned.


"We want to develop and explore our minds and creativity and maybe unveil the genius inside of each one of us", the Afghan girls team wrote on its official page.

"We cried a lot after we heard our visa was rejected", added 15-year-old Kowser Roshan. They made the 800-kilometer (500-mile) trek to the USA embassy in Kabul twice after their first applications were denied.

After six months of hard work - often working seven days a week on the project - they constructed a ball sorting robot that can move objects to their correct places. Teams from Syria, Iran and Sudan - countries that are part of the order - were granted visas.

While their robot was sent overseas to compete and arrangements were made for them to video-conference in to the event, the team of girls from Western Afghanistan were rejected twice for the necessary visas to attend in-person.

First Global was founded by Dean Kamen, the prolific inventor behind the Segway, to promote the value of education in science, technology, engineering and math.

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