It’s time to celebrate another incredible feat for the Muslim community! This one comes in the form of five young Afghan girls being chosen for the Forbes Asia “30 Under 30” list!
The five young girls, aged between 15 and 19, developed a lightweight, low-cost ventilator last year to help decrease the shortage of ventilators for COVID-19 patients with severe cases.
In August of 2020, Afghanistan’s Health Minister, Ahmad Jawad Osmani, stated that almost 10 million, or around one third of Afghanistan’s population had been infected with the coronavirus. There were even reports that due to the shortage of oxygen tanks and resources within the country, families had begun fighting each other to secure these resources to save their loved ones.
In that same month, it had also been reported that the country only had around 300 ventilators for critical patients, and not all of them were being used, as hospital staff were untrained. With widespread poverty, the people of Afghanistan were unable to afford to follow the strict restrictions placed in the majority of countries around the world.
While the situation in Afghanistan has improved slightly, the need for ventilators hasn’t. Inflammation caused by the virus can hinder the ability of the lungs to clear out fluids and debris, which leads to the body being deprived of oxygen. A ventilator is a lifesaving device that supports the lungs and can pump air with an increased amount of oxygen into the lungs to create pressure and assist with breathing. This is especially helpful with critical COVID patients experiencing severe respiratory difficulties.
In 2017, an all-female robotics team was formed with the help of a New York-based not-for-profit Digital Citizen Fund. Within that team, Somaya Faruqi, Ayda Hayderpoor, Elham Mansoori, Florance Pouya, and Dina Wahabzada, all between the ages of 15 and 19, are part of the Afghan Girls Robotic Team. And they spent their time last year, during the most crucial stages of the pandemic, developing ventilators for their country and people.
Instead of complaining about the lack of resources and equipment to battle the pandemic, these girls decided to take matters into their own hands and put their intelligence and education to use, helping their country in a way we can only imagine. The work of these five young girls will definitely help boost the shortage of ventilators in the country. They’re also among 20 honorees that are aged 21 or younger chosen for the Forbes “30 Under 30” list.
These young women have not only made their country proud, but they’ve made the entire Muslim population proud. They’re some of the youngest to ever be put on the list. It further cements the notion that young girls and boys, whether in a pandemic or not, can do things people would never have been able to fathom. These five girls have contributed to saving lives and may Allah SWT reward them both in this world and in the hereafter for such a beautiful and much-needed act.