Humanity is indeed a young species. We arrived at a point in our civilization where old religions of past centuries hold out their claims in our culture. And the liberal ideas, growing and evolving, are still struggling to free themselves from the remnants of the dark ages. Afghan Dreamers are pushed to escape their homeland and dream outside Afghanistan.
Amidst the chaos unfolding in Afghanistan in the past week, with the Taliban touting between their promise of renewed governance and their past practices, the all-women robotics team, Afghan Dreamers, was flown safely to Qatar over the weekend. Digital Citizen Fund (DCF), a US-based nonprofit organization and the main sponsors of the Robotics Team, confirmed the news.
In a statement, DCF disclosed that they requested help from Qatar as early as August 12, just four days before the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. In an interview with the BBC, Elizabeth Schaeffer, a DCF board member, further explained that when news of the US army’s withdrawal caused the Taliban’s swift return to power, they immediately communicated with Qatar’s foreign ministry. Qatar’s government immediately responded, expediting visa requests. “They are taking very good care of them,” Schaeffer told BBC.
In 2017, the team won a silver medal during the FIRST Global Challenge hosted in Washington. What made their triumph significant was the multiple visa rejection they suffered and the fact that they represent a generation of Afghans who tasted freedom and have embraced a culture opposite to what the Taliban gave their country for half a decade. Their visas are also one of Trump’s rare positive accomplishments.
In 2020, the All-Woman Team made headlines again by creating a functional ventilator from old car parts.
On August 24, 2021, the girls landed in Mexico. Marcelo Ebrard, the Foreign Minister of Mexico, meets them at the Benito Juarez International airport. He accepted their passport to process their application for humanitarian status.
Allyson Reneau, a 60-year old mother of eleven from Oklahoma who met the team back in 2019 during a Humans to Mars summit in Washington DC, helped Afghan Dreamers leave Afghanistan. Reneau kept a correspondence with the girls after they met, “being a mother of nine daughters, I felt immediately drawn to them,” she explained. After an unsuccessful attempt to help the girls from the US, she flew to Qatar with an acquaintance and began working on the girls’ paperwork with the Qatari Embassy.
According to Reneau, even while the girls were still in Qatar, they started receiving scholarship offers, including grants from “incredible universities.” The girls now have the “freedom to choose and to be the architects of their own destiny.” Reneau felt free knowing they can ‘get educated wherever they want.”
The Afghan Dreamers are more than just individuals and their dreams. They are a living monument, a growing reminder of the Afghan people’s defiance against the Taliban and the triumph of liberal ideas over the clutch of religious tyranny.