Six Afghan girls have been denied a one-week travel visa to the US. The girls comprise a robotics team that was to travel to the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge, a robotics competition in Washington DC.

The team is from Herat, a city of half a million people in the western part of the country. In order to interview for their visas, they travelled 500 miles to Kabul. They did this twice, after they were rejected on their first try.

The robot that they have created is allowed to travel to the US and will compete with 163 other machines. The team is busy working on the robot, even though the raw materials they needed were held up in customs for months. The team didn’t give up and improvised, using other materials while they waited for the raw materials.

First Global president Joe Steak says that he is disappointed that the extraordinarily brave young women from Afghanistan will not be joining the other students. They will video conference in on the day of the competition.

Teams from Iraq, Iran and Sudan have got travel visas for the competition. Team Gambia has been denied a visa.

The team was put together by Roya Mahboob, the founder of Citadel software in Afghanistan, and the country’s first female CEO. The event’s organisers will play a short video at the the event to honour their effort.

“We want to make a difference, and most breakthroughs in science, technology, and other industries normally start with the dream of a child to do something great. We want to be that child and pursue our dreams to make a difference in people’s lives,” the team wrote on its competition page.

Also Read: Women in Afghanistan work towards a better life

Picture Credit: The Express