Kenyan among CNN Hero of the Year finalists

Umra Omar
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In Summary

  • In her short speech after receiving her award, Ms Omar encouraged unity. “If you want to go fast go alone, to go far we must go together despite colour, gender, beliefs or social-status, we all bleed red.
  • She founded Safari Doctors, a group that travels by boat, road and air to offer free medical services to more than 1,000 people every year in remote and insecure areas near the Somali border.

A woman from Lamu County was among the 10 finalists in the CNN Hero of the Year awards held on Sunday night in New York.

Ms Umra Omar, 33 made to the finalists but did not win the award, which was taken home by Jeison Aristizábal of Columbia.

Ms Omar was among the qualifiers of the prestigious international award for her extraordinary work.

Ms Omar left a career in the United States to help people without any access to health care in her homeland, Lamu.

During 10th annual event which was aired live from New York City, each of the 10 CNN Heroes received $10,000 (Ksh1 million) in recognition of their work.

In her short speech after receiving her award, Ms Omar encouraged unity. “If you want to go fast go alone, to go far we must go together despite colour, gender, beliefs or social-status, we all bleed red.

“May this award be a constant reminder that marinating in comfort is not an option, fear is not an option. With the leap of faith we can all be the change that our world screams for,” said Ms Omar in a video posted on twitter by CNN.




She stayed in the US for years and moved to Kenya in 2010.

During her time in there, she earned degrees from prestigious institutions.

She founded Safari Doctors, a group that travels by boat, road and air to offer free medical services to more than 1,000 people every year in remote and insecure areas near the Somali border.

In an interview with CNN, Ms Omar said she was moved by the dire conditions of her home people, the Bajuni and Boni.



About the Author

Michael Onas
Africa - Online Founder & Senior Editor Africa - Online.Com was founded by Michael Onas in 1997, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in African news sector, with millions of readers around the world and followers on social media.