The First Female Robotics Team in Afghanistan Have Built Ventilators from Car Parts to Help COVID Patients


A female Robotics team in Afghanistan is being awarded for their invention in an international US competition. The group of teenage girls is named the ‘Afghan Dreamers.’ They’ve built a low-cost, lightweight ventilator using old car parts to help COVID patients in Afghanistan.

“Our machines are built out of a combination of a Toyota Corolla motor, chains from motorcycles as well as separate pressure, heat, and humidity sensors,” said Somaya Faruqui, 17, the Robotics team’s captain.

Although the devices can’t replace medical ventilators, they should bring temporary relief to COVID-19 patients. The five teenagers, aged between 14 and 17, worked on the project for two months straight to complete their prototype — all while wearing masks and gloves.

They’re aiming to finish the device by the middle of June and sell them for 50 times cheaper than a medical ventilator. The hope is that they can be a stopgap for one of Afghanistan’s hospitals in Herat.


Members of the Afghan Dreamers: Elham Mansori, Florence Poya, Nahida Khajazadeh and Somaya Farooqi are building a mechanized version of a medical ventilator. Photo Credit: The Digital Citizen Fund


Right now, Afghanistan has a maximum of just 400 ventilators for a population of 38.9 million.

“We’ve seen a lot of encouragement from people, but our biggest drive is the current situation: Afghanistan is in crisis and we want to do what we can to help,” Faruqi told Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The initiative has been welcomed by the Afghan government, and the health ministry says that while the devices can’t be used immediately, they’re a promising alternative for ventilating patients.

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