SMART Sistas girls (l-r) Lana Molivurae, Lilia Raptigh, and Casandra Olul checking in at Bauerfield Airport Sunday morning.

Three girls, members of SMART Sistas, have left Port Vila on their first leg of a trip to represent Vanuatu at the FIRST Global robotic challenge to be held from July 16-18, 2017 in Washington, DC, USA .

Lana Molivurae from Epauto School, Lilia Raptigh from Central School and Casanda Olul from Malapoa College all in Port Vila left Sunday morning for Suva, Fiji, where they will be assisted by staff of the Vanuatu Embassy to acquire their US visas for the travel.

On Thursday this week, the girls will be in Nadi, where they will be joined by a mentor, Rodney Philemon, the Chairman of the SMART Sistas Committee, who will accompany them to Washington, DC for the challenge.

Over 160 countries will be participating in the event and represented by a national team. And team Vanuatu will be composed of the three girls from SMART Sistas.

To prepare for the challenge, the FIRST Global Robotic Team sent the girls a package that contains all the robotic parts and they successfully built the tobot and taken it with them to Washington, DC. The drive built for this year’s challenge, is on the theme ‘Access to Clean Water’, which is one of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

There have been many companies, organizations and individuals who have come together to assist the SMART Sistas members to represent the country, one of them vSolutions, that provided an office space for the girls to use to work on their robot.

It is understood that some former Peace Corp volunteers in Vanuatu who are now back in the US will be in the nation’s capital to support the girls. A former Peace Corp Country Director for Vanuatu, Keith Honda, who saw the gap in ICT for girls and ladies to become ICT leaders, started the SMART Sistas initiative in 2014.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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