"For the first time in their life, I really believe they have the freedom to choose and to be the architects of their own destiny and their own future," said Allyson Reneau about the girls she helped rescue.
Allyson Reneau, a mom-of-11 who graduated from Harvard in 2016 with a Master's in international relations and U.S. space policy, first met the members of the Afghan Girls Robotics Team when they attended the 2019 Human to Mars conference, according to NBC News.
Reneau, 60, stayed in touch with the girls over the years. "Being a mother of nine biological daughters, I felt immediately drawn to them and I think it was mutual," she said. But, when she came across reports of a Taliban takeover, she just couldn't shake off a feeling that the team of girls might be in danger. She knew she had to do something about the team.
"I remembered my former roommate in D.C. a couple of years ago was transferred to Qatar," Reneau explained. "She said she worked in the U.S. Embassy in Qatar... she was sure her boss would approve helping the girls." Immediately, she and her former roomie got to work, to try and rescue the group of girls between the ages of 16 and 18. They filled out all the necessary paperwork needed to get them out of the crumbling country.
Finally some happy news! Allyson Reneau is a true heroine for pulling this off! https://t.co/bwqRM5oajV— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) August 19, 2021
Although unsure about just how big a difference Reneau and her friend made, 10 girls from Afghanistan's girls' robotics team have been successfully flown out of the country. "Several members of the girls' Afghan robotics team have safely arrived in Doha, Qatar, from Kabul, Afghanistan," the Digital Citizen Fund (DCF) and Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown, a board member on the DCF, revealed that she along with the DCF founder had been working with Qatar since early August when they were almost sure that the Taliban would be overthrowing the government. "The flight out of Kabul was only at the very end of a journey in which safety was always a concern," she said.
"Ultimately the girls 'rescued' themselves. If it were not for their hard work and courage to pursue an education, which brought them in contact with the world, they would still be trapped. We need to continue to support them and others like them," she said.
Unfortunately, several members of the team are still stuck in Afghanistan and the DCF is working closely with Qatar to arrange transportation for the remaining members and their aides. However, the 10 so-called "Afghan Dreamers" are just so happy to get out of there! "They left everything behind to pursue their dreams and to be free and educated," Reneau told Insider. "They now seem to be safe, well, and happy."
Now, Reneau says the girls are now figuring out where to go from Qatar but they already have an "abundance of scholarship offers from incredible universities" in the US. "For the first time in their life, I really believe they have the freedom to choose and to be the architects of their own destiny and their own future," she said. "It's the freeing feeling to me to know that they will be able to go somewhere and get educated wherever they want."
Cover Image Source: Instagram | Allyson Reneau (allyson_reneau)