An all-girls Afghan robotics team has won first place in one of Europe’s largest robotics competitions, the New York Times reports.
The team attracted international media attention after facing a series of obstacles. Earlier this summer, the young women were denied visas to participate in an international robotics competition in Washington, D.C. Eventually, the women were allowed to compete and took home second place. Then in August, the team captain’s father was tragically killed by a suicide bomber.
But this past week, the young women got some good news. Three of the 12 team members participated in the Entrepreneurial Challenge at Robotex, one of Europe’s largest robotics competitions. Their task was to show an invention that could solve a real-world problem that customers would want.
The women presented a robot that used solar energy to support small-scale farmers. And after thousands of spectators voted, the women were awarded first place.
“We are extremely proud of the wonderful accomplishments of the Afghan All-Girl Robotics Team,” Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Said T. Jawad, told the New York Times in a statement. “They are an excellent example for people around the world of what can be accomplished by young Afghans if given the right support and the opportunity to excel in their education.”