Five Afghan girls on a life-saving mission
The members of Afghanistan's prize-winning girls' robotics team say they're on a live-saving mission " to build a ventilator from used car parts and help their war-stricken country battle the virus
On most mornings, Somaya Farooqi and four other teenage girls pile into her dad's car and head to a mechanic's workshop. They use back roads to skirt police checkpoints set up to enforce a lockdown in Herat, one of Afghanistan's hot spots of the pandemic.
The members of Afghanistan's prize-winning girls' robotics team say they're on a live-saving mission " to build a ventilator from used car parts and help their war-stricken country battle the virus.
"If we even save one life with our device, we will be proud," said Farooqi, 17. Afghanistan faces the pandemic nearly empty-handed.It has only 400 ventilators for a population of over 36.6 million. So far, it has reported just over 900 cases, including 30 deaths, but the actual number is suspected to be much higher since test kits are in short supply.
Farooqi and her team members, ages 14 to 17, are experimenting with two different designs, including an open-source blueprint from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The parts being used include the motor of a Toyota windshield wiper, batteries and sets of bag valve masks, or manual oxygen pumps. A group of mechanics helps them build the frame of a ventilator.
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