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Kenyan with big heart lines up for Sh10m Global Citizen Awards

A Kenyan is among the 10 finalists in this year’s Waislitz Global Citizen Awards an award that seeks to celebrate individuals who make extraordinary contributions in the society.

Umra Omar is the founder of Safari Doctors, an organization that delivers primary medical care and health education by boat, air and land to Bajuni and Aweer communities in Lamu, Kenya.

The Waislitz Global Citizen Awards are annual cash prizes totalling Sh25 million ($250,000) that recognise the excellence of individuals in their work to end extreme poverty.

The grand prize is Sh10 million ($100,000) with three additional prizes for Sh5 million ($50,000) each, for a total of four prizes.

The awards are presented by the Waislitz Foundation and Global Citizen.

“Ending extreme poverty is not a choice, it’s an obligation. My hope is that it will inspire many thousands of people around the world to do what they can to improve the living standards of those in dire need,” Chairman and Founder of the Melbourne-based Waislitz Foundation, Alex Waislitz, said.

Raised in Kenya, Omar had earned degrees from two prestigious American schools, completed graduate school and was working full-time in Washington, D.C. But she says cubicle life wasn’t for her; she was longing to return to her native country.

Omar said she was compelled to come back because it was her town of origin, but also because she felt the desire to give back.

She had pursued a bachelor’s in neuroscience and psychology before completing her master’s degree in social justice in intercultural relations.

“I was so fortunate, to be given the scholarships and the opportunity I’ve had, being a woman, being from Kenya. You know, when you’ve been given the world, you have the give the world back,” she told Global Citizen in a phone interview.

In addition to the cash prizes, the four winners will be profiled in editorial pieces that will be featured on the Global Citizen platform and social media.

However, due to Covid-19, there will be no award ceremony in 2020.

In 2016, she was nominated for the year’s CNN Hero of the Year, an award that seeks to celebrate individuals who make extraordinary contributions in the society.

You can vote for her here; voting closes on Monday, July 20, 2020.