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Majoring in Public Health to bring about positive and effective methods of controlling health disparities

My personal interests in the public health field stem from international health inequality and its consequences to the people suffering from lack of health resources. Born in an impoverished household living in a mud-brick home in Afghanistan and raised in the sunny skies of California, I never once looked back to my motherland and actually appreciated that I survived the first five most important years in a country that lacks fundamental facilities and professionals to keep its population alive and well. Only last year, however, I learned that hospitals and midwives are very rare in villages of Afghanistan and that pregnant women must travel ten days by foot to deliver their baby. Therefore, not only women experience adversities in their health throughout their lives but also their children suffer from illnesses, if they even survive, thus making Afghanistan the number one country in infant mortality rate.

Only a few weeks ago, it was discovered that my cousin gave birth to a severely underweight baby boy who had Spina Bifida due to little prenatal care and suffered from a lack of bone strength for him to ever walk. My cousin did not have the education nor the means to travel and obtain care for herself and her child. This example is personal to me, but it is only one of the cases prevalent in every corner of the globe. To have been born in Afghanistan and in these circumstances and to be able to write about them at this moment has inspired me and sparked an interest in me to pursue the root of health inequality of the world and make a difference first hand.

Having been a first-generation child from my family to go away to college, I surely faced obstacles along the way that made me believe time and again that my dreams were unreachable. From being called a “terrorist” for wearing a headscarf to having teachers question whether I was allowed to wear henna on my hands, I was never able to feel safe at school and even thought about altogether quitting my dreams of going into college and pursuing public health. When I would come home from school and escape the loudness of the hatred and discrimination that surrounded me, I would instead be immersed with the loudness of crying babies in my house and the demands of my household chores.

However, despite all of the obstacles and endeavors throughout my school career, I finally realized that my education and my degree in public health can mean that I can bring about positive and effective methods of controlling health disparities. I am motivated to return to Afghanistan to conduct research on the staggering numbers to raise awareness of the rising health inequalities and bring about more medical opportunities, resources and education so that others, like my cousin, do not have to go far to obtain treatment.

We are proud to announce Homira Omar is one of the current DiversityJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘heart’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

94 comments

  • No one more deserving than you. You have shined through this essay and it shows how passionate you are towards helping others in need. Keep it up! And good luck.

  • Can’t think of a more deserving person than Homira. She has been so keen on changing the world for the better with her love for public health, I have no doubt she will reach for the stars. Keep shining!

  • Such a brace girl and bear story. Thank you for sharing. Your love for people will cure the world. She truly deserves this award.

  • Homira- I am beyond happy to see you do amazing things. I knew from the start you had a drive in you. You’re one determined girl, and you won’t take no for an answer. I love your charisma and passion to help those in need. Best of luck!

  • Ever since I’ve known you, you’re admiration for those in the public health sector and those dedicated to helping others have been your role model. You will be a role model for people one day, if not already. I believe in you and I trust you to inspire others just as you have been inspired. This award will help you with your goal of becoming a public health professional, and I know you are more than deserving of it. Love you lots!

  • Homira,
    I’ve been so amazed by all you’ve done, and now you’re doing so much more. I’m obsessed with this and you. Your hard work has been evident. I’m so happy I know someone as active as you!

  • I respect this so much!! Never met someone as hard working and passionate as you. You’ve been so driven from the moment I met you at the global affairs fair. Wish more people were like Homira. Proud of you, girl!

  • Homira,
    This truly made me tear up. There are so many people suffering from so many preventable causes, and it hurts my heart to think about how here in the States we even waste extravagantly without even thinking about it. I’ve always known you were going to do big things, and I know you’re going to continue doing amazing things. It’s not easy to do what you’re doing, and no body does it better than you. From the start you’ve always been so loving towards people, so hard working in school, and so humble. I’m so proud of you.

    • Ms. Donna!! Thank you for this heartfelt comment. I am so proud to have been your student. I hope you’re doing well, and I hope your class has been treating you well!

  • Homira! I will make sure to have many people read this wonderful and inspiring story. I am so glad I met someone like you. Don’t ever change. The world really needs you

  • Dear Homira,
    From all the stories you told me about Afghanistan, your goals of helping people in need, and your hard work in school already proves to me that you’re going to go far. I know you’ve told me you have financial obstacles in school, but this scholarship that you deserve so much will help you continue your dreams of becoming a public health professional. You have passion, dedication and humility that sets you apart. Do not allow some financial issues to stop you. I pray that you win this award so that you can continue your schooling with ease and not strain. Good luck to you and please don’t ever give up!

    • AWWW, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I hope to also be able to get help in pursuing my education through financial assistance, as I am in need of it.

  • Homira. You’re going so far I know it. This scholarship will help you towards your desired destination. I know you have amazing goals. And I hope the scholarship committee sees from your essay and from your wonderful friend’s and families comments just how excited you are towards your endeavors. I hope they consider you greatly as we have. Your hard work does not go unnoticed!!!! You are deserving of this!! Best of luck 🙂

  • Homira Omar,
    Thank you for writing this and awakening us. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story. Thank you for pouring your heart, soul, tears, passion and hard work towards your people, a people who have been in war and poverty since the beginning of its inception. If only everyone had your exuberance and good will. I first met you when you discovered your love for public health and your eyes would light up with just the thought of dedicating your life towards improving the lives of others. Your work at the UC Berkeley’s Public Health School did and does not go unnoticed. You’ve set the standard high and mighty. You are all deserving of this award. Can’t name a better candidate. I wish you the best of luck. Go Bears!

    • THANK YOU! Thank you for believing in me and allowing me to work at the center. I know I was a little too excited some days, but it’s only because I love where I worked. And I appreciate all your kind words, in and outside of the center. You’re so sweet, again, thank you! And I hope to come visit again very soon!

  • You may have expressed to me your financial constraints and bugetary shortcomings in your life as you struggle to support your family while also attending school, but you still are able to get amazing scores and assist others like nothing is holding you back. I hope you win this award so you have some cushion and finances to continue to comfort others and help others. You’re service is so valued, money should never be a reason why you can’t pursue your life long aspirations. Good luck to you, my friend.

  • You’re a star. Congrats on being a finalist. And I wish you are rewarded with the scholarship bc you are deserving of it. It will help you with becoming a public health professional!

  • My inspiration! My role model! I hope you win this because clearly you exhibit characteristics of a legend!

  • an incredible soul and story you have. don’t ever give up. the best is yet to come for those who have a goal in mind. you seethe epitome of hard work he determination. public health and the world and yearning for you. this award was made for you. good luck to you with this and the rest of your career!

  • Homira,

    You are such an amazing individual. I am inspired by your story and your willingness to use your skills to help those in need. You are going to do great things in life and I look forward to the future knowing you’ll make a difference in communities that need you. I hope you win the scholarship, you are more than deserving!

    • Angela!!! I miss you!! And I thank you!!!!!! For everything! I hope you’re having fun in San Jose, doing amazing things, Ms. Future CEO of Adobe!!! Love you!!!

  • Beautifully written! You are going to do well in whatever you do! Keep pushing! The community is rooting for you!

  • ¡Eres una persona increíble! Gracias por compartir su historia y ser desinteresado para ayudar a los necesitados. Le deseo la mejor de las suertes a lo largo de su carrera y espero que usted gane la beca!

  • You’re a rockstar! You have accomplished so much in life and I know you will continue to do great things! WooHoo! The scholarship will do you well!

  • The scholarship committee is right to choose you as a finalist! You’re so close! You will be such an inspiration to people who want to go towards public health!!!

  • I’ve known Homira for 7 years now, and it’s not surprising that she is now doing big amazing things and is a finalist! I’ve always seen something different in her. She was so passionate about even the most smallest of things. I understand why people have been astonished of her accomplishments. She is goals!

  • homira,

    you seem like the perfect candidate for this award. you’re passion and love for people is present in your writing. this will take you a long way. don’t give up!

    • Tams, You’re an inspiration yourself!! I strive to be as great as you. Thanks for everything. I will see you at the center soon!

  • Ever since I’ve known you, you have shown me what love for public health looks like. Never have I seen someone as bright as you. You’re a scholarship finalist for a reason!

  • hey homira, i think your essay speaks volumes. I appreciate the kind of person you are because you represent the values one should have for society. Do not stop your goals and i wish you the most success in your future endeavors.

  • homira, i love how far you have come. you certainly have made me proud of the woman you are today. keep doing you!! keep it up 🙂

  • you seem to be a determined, hardworking, and intelligent young lady. you are the change we need, and i am happy when i see young individuals like yourself who strive to better the world in one way or another.

  • Seriously, I cannot believe you’ve become such a grown women doing grown things! I knew you when you were such a tiny little girl, and now you have blossomed. You are ever so deserving <3

  • TEARS TEARS & MORE TEARS! These tears are full of joy! Great story, best wishes to you as you continue making a change in our world!

  • You are the light of my eyes and the light of this world. You’re work at schools in the public health undergrad department is thankful for all your hard work!! We are so proud of you! Thank you to the scholarship committee for seeing the passion this one exudes. We had witnessed what determination means in action. We know she will be such a wonderful and necessary asset to the public health community. This is your girl!

  • Hi Homira,
    Thank you for writing such a beautiful story. Your love for helping others shines! I wish the best for you in the future.

  • Divya here! Just wanted to say that Homira is one of a kind! She is a very smart person who feels for others deeply. It is no wonder why she is a finalist, and I can tell you that you will not be disappointed in choosing her as a winner because one can see her spirit and passion not only through her writing, but from all the comments left on here, all of whom know Homira and can vouch for her hard work and we know her work will not be in vain. Homira is one of those people who are goal oriented and will not take no for an answer. I’ve had class with her, and can tell you that she asks questions and creates discussions to get answers. I am so happy for her and so proud of her! She can do all things!

  • Hello,
    Just wanted to stop by and say that you have been a motivation and inspiration for so many boys and girls not only here, but also Afghanistan. You have faced so many setbacks and barriers in Afghanistan, and then when you came here, and yet you still rise above it and become the best version of yourself. You did not let the obstacles get the best of you, but instead you chose to be resilient and assistant those most in need. I am so proud of you and your courage to stand up for yourself despite all the racism and discrimination you have endured. No one is more deserving than you, seeing that you worked extra hard to get where others are. You’re hard work will now be recognized. Don’t ever give up and don’t let the setbacks take the better of you. Good luck with this award. If you’re reading this, scholarship committee, I can vouch for Homira that she is one of a kind, someone who has faced all forms of hatred in and outside of school, work and throughout her life, yet still able to assist others and follow her dreams. She’s truly the best. Congrats, Homira!

  • Homira! My pride and joy. All the obstacles and adversities that you faced have led you here. What a leader you’ve become. I’m so glad you didn’t give in to the racist remarks, but decided to rise up and fight by education. You’ve endured discrimination, racism and financial strains and your still a scholarship finalist! I hope that the committee chooses you as a winner because you truly are a winner in life despite your setbacks. You will go on and do amazing things, I know it.

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