Education Cannot Wait Appoints New Global Champion Somaya Faruqi on International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Available languages:
Somaya Faruqi

The former captain of the Afghan Girls’ Robotics Team calls for continued support for girls’ education in Afghanistan and other hotspots worldwide.


In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) today named Somaya Faruqi as a new ECW Global Champion.

The former captain of the Afghan Girls’ Robotics Team will serve as a global advocate for ECW and will headline an important Spotlight on Afghanistan panel discussion at the upcoming ECW High-Level Financing Conference, 16 and 17 February in Geneva, Switzerland.

Faruqi made international headlines when she and her team of ‘Afghan Dreamers’ built a ventilator from used car parts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am honored to accept my appointment as Education Cannot Wait’s Global Champion on behalf of all the girls worldwide who dream – against all odds – of an education. These are the future scientists and leaders of tomorrow. So many are being left behind. We must unite in our efforts to ensure girls everywhere can access high-quality science, technology, engineering and math education, and realize our collective dreams of a better, more equal world for all,” Faruqi said.

Faruqi was born in Herat, Afghanistan in 2002. She cultivated her love of engineering in her father’s mechanic shop. Her high-school career and leadership of the Afghan Dreamers was cut short by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. She and the rest of her teammates had to flee the country in August 2021.

“Somaya Faruqi is a shining example to us all that with courage, hope, and tenacity, we can ensure every girl - and every boy - across the planet is able to experience the hope and opportunity that only a quality education can provide. As our global champion, Somaya will advocate for all of the world’s 222 million crisis-impacted girls and boys that so urgently need our support. Somaya is the face of a new generation of young leaders – and the face of the Afghan people at their best – proud, profound, brilliant and unstoppable,” said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait, the UN’s global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

Faruqi has received several awards over her young career, including being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2021, BBC’s 100 Women in 2020, and the 2017 Silver Medal for Courageous Achievement at the FIRST Global Challenge - in recognition of science and technology in the US.

For Press Inquiries:

Anouk Desgroseilliers:

Kent Page: