On Monday, July 3, a team of Gambian students was denied entry into the United States due to visa restrictions.
Now, the restrictions have been lifted, and the students will now be allowed to participate in the First Global competition in Washington D.C.
The students were denied twice even though Gambia, a Muslim-majority nation, is not listed in the U.S. travel ban.
Team member Fatoumata Ceesay, 17, told the BBC that the team is “excited and happy, but also disheartened, because we are not going with our mentor because he is a government official.” Mucktarr Darboe, director at the ministry of higher education, was not granted access because the U.S. has banned granting visas to Gambian governmental officials since last year, according to the BBC.
The team is one of 164 others competing and showing off their robots. Gambia hopes to win big with their robot designed to clean contaminated rivers when the competition starts July 16-18.
“I hope to come back with knowledge and inspiration to give young Gambians, especially the girls,” said Fatoumata.