Afghanistan's First Female Coders Develop Game To Combat Opium
The first Afghan female coders, a group of students in Western Herat, have developed a game centered around fighting Taliban-controlled opium poppy fields.
The game, called Fight Against Opium, is based on stories 20-year old coder Khatera Mohammadi's brother told her from his experience as a translator for U.S. soldiers in the Helmand province. "Each time he came back home, he would tell us about the poppy fields, the terrible mine blasts, battling opium traffickers and drugs," she said.
In FAO, players assume the role of an Afghan soldier trying to clear out the drugs in Helmand, which is based on actual events. With five lives, players have to watch out for dangerous elements such as land mines, drug traffickers, and enemies hiding in corn fields. Mohammadi and her colleagues hope the game, which took them a month to develop, will target children and raise awareness of the dangers of opium. The United Nations estimates that Afghanistan produces more opium than all other countries combined.
The women learned to code through a female-only program called Code to Inspire, which has over 80 students from high school and universities. The purpose of the school is to give girls a sense of empowerment through coding and to change their lives for the better. Students learn to develop games, apps, websites, and more.
Fight Against Opium is currently not available to play outside of Afghanistan.
It's brave for coders - especially in this case as the first female coders in their country - to develop a game centered around fighting Afghanistan's biggest drug. It might not be the next Witcher or Half-Life, but what the game represents certainly is important. Though it's highly unlikely, it would be cool to see the game released in other countries.