The Afghan robotics team on Saturday returned home after participation in the FIRST Global robotics competition in Washington DC where they won silver medal in the “courageous achievement”.
The all-girl team was warmly welcomed by members of the parliament and government officials at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said the robotics team’s achievement is a big pride for the country.
He vowed to provide the team with necessary education opportunities.
“You have taken a big step and have more big steps to take. You should bring more medals in the future and your achievements will bring changes in peoples’ lives,” Abdullah stated.
“These girls’ achievement will encourage other girls and will positively impact their lives and will enhance their initiatives and creativity,” said Abdul Rahman Ahmadi, the education director of Herat.
Water and Energy Minister, Ali Ahmad Osmani, who was welcoming the girls at the airport, said “the robotics team managed to show the talent of young Afghan women at an international event”.
More than 160 countries participated in the global competition.
“When we stepped on the stage in the front row, we were so excited. When the name of Afghanistan was announced, I shouted Hurrah,” Lida Azimi, a member of the team, in their arrival at the airport.
“We faced problems in the customs and later on more challenges emerged (on our way). Organizers of the competition told us that you cannot make a robot, but we made it in two weeks,” said Ali Reza Mehraban, the coach of the team.
The girls however said they are worried about their safety when they return to Herat province.
“In our country, it is threatening for a girl to appear in the media. We want you (government) to ensure our safety,” Fatima Qaderiyan, a member of the robotics team, said at a gathering in Kabul.