I am Generation Equality: Somaya Faruqi, young Afghan innovator who led the development of a low-cost ventilator prototype

Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.


I am Generation Equality
Somaya Faruqi. Photo: Digital Citizen Fund
Somaya Faruqi. Photo: Digital Citizen Fund

I am Generation Equality because…

“I believe that gender equality is a human right.

Three things you can do to become part of Generation Equality:

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  • Promote equal access to opportunities and education for girls
  • Share your success with others and be role models for girls in STEAM
  • Believe in the younger generation

Women are half of the population, they need to have the same rights as men. STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics] education is essential for economic growth and future jobs, and women and girls should be involved at an early age.

Equality is important for everyone, regardless of gender. We can all contribute to this cause by our action towards the women and girls in our own lives, including wives, daughters and employees. Make it a better place for them.

Break the barriers, believe in girls

There is not always equal access to the opportunities for all young students It's much more difficult for young women… it’shard to find someone who believes in them and their abilities. We need to have equal opportunities for young women to study.

Sometimes, families think science and tech are male fields and prefer that their girls don’t enter them. We have less role models for young women in these fields, and that makes it more challenging for young women to enter this industry.

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“Equality is important for everyone.”

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It’s important to have the input of the younger generation, as they are the future and they have a lot of creative ideas that can benefit everyone. It can change their lives if someone believes in their dreams.

Innovation for community good

COVID-19 created a lot of challenges in our work. We couldn’t go to school or continue our Robotics competition, but we took this as an opportunity to help our community with our skills.

The former Governor of Herat requested our team join the challenge to build up an open-source ventilator. We had limited access to the market didn’t have the right materials, there were travel restrictions and we didn’t even have a budget. Still, we participated with the help of our coaches, experts and mentors. We designed an open-source ventilator based on the MIT design. And, we proved that if there is opportunity for young women, they can change their lives and their community.

When ventilators were becoming scarce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Somaya Faruqi, 17, led Afghanistan’s Girl’s Robotics Team as they developed a prototype ventilator to support their country’s health care system.