An Oklahoma mom heroically made the decision to fly to the middle east in an effort to save as many members of the Afghan’s Girls Robotics Team as possible.
Mother to 11-children, Allyson Reneau is a Harvard graduate who holds a Master’s degree in international relations and US space policy.
After watching the news, horrified by the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan as Taliban forces advanced, 60-year-old Reneau, took it upon herself to try and save members of the Afghan Girls Robotic Team. A call to Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Ok), a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee was her first thought, but the Senator was focused on rescuing Americans trapped overseas.
Desperate to help the girls, Reneau took the next step, as the New York Post reports: She flew into Qatar on Aug. 9 after making a “Hail Mary” call to a former roommate at the US Embassy there – to help get the girls from the advancing Taliban, known for their oppressive treatment of women.
Reneau had been in contact with the team — made of girls ages 16 to 18 — since 2019 when she worked on the board of directors for Explore Mars and met the girls when they attended the organization’s annual Humans to Mars conference.
The team was hailed in Western media as the future of the war-ravaged country, as well as a shining example of how women’s rights had improved after the US invaded following 9/11.
10 members of the girls Afghan robotics team have safely arrived in Doha, Qatar, from Kabul, Afghanistan.
Unfortunately, several members of the team remain in Afghanistan. https://t.co/ysoCmuaD22
— Anthony DeRosa 🗽 (@Anthony) August 20, 2021
“I remembered my former roommate in D.C. a couple of years ago was transferred to Qatar,” Reneau told NBC. “She said she worked in the U.S. Embassy in Qatar. … She was sure her boss would approve helping the girls.”
“She wrote up a request, and I got all of their passports together,” Reneau said. “She went back to the Embassy at midnight and worked all night to prepare the documents [and] packets for the girls.”
Reneau said it was chaotic trying to get the girls out, who “were in a sea of chaos with 8 million people and a city halfway around the world,” forcing her to work at the embassy all night.
“It’s very narrow window of opportunity,” she told NBC. “I knew that if I didn’t run through that door now — it’s now or never. Sometimes you only get one chance.”
According to NBC, Reneau is still working to get 25 more girls from the team to safety.