This month on the blog, we wanted to highlight an Oromo woman whose philanthropy always goes above and beyond.
California’s own Obse Lubo has been involved in countless initiatives, both in North America and back home in Oromia. Her passion for making healthcare accessible to all is derived from the challenges she sees our people face back home. She is a shining example of what we should all strive to do in our own communities; a shining example of how as Oromos in the diaspora we can benefit our community at home.
From Obse’s Facebook page, at Abdisa Aga Elementary School in Nejo
We caught up with her recently in the following interview:
Siiqqee Chronicles: We’re so glad to have a chance to talk to you today! First, what motivates you to give back to your community?
Obse Lubo: My motivation is my passion to help the community that I grew up in; to help ease the suffering of children, women and other members of the community from simple diseases that affect their daily lives.
SC: What are some initiatives that you’ve been part of lately?
OL: I have been doing annual medical mission trips to Oromia for the past 7 years, performed hundreds of various types of surgeries, and educated health care professionals and community members about disease prevention and treatment. Currently, with Rotary International Global Grant, we are working on the “Breathing For Life Project” implementing an oxygen generator plant, which would generate oxygen for the hospital use from the air. We hope to serve about 2.5 million people in the Western and Central Oromia regions.
SC: What are some of the biggest challenges you face in working with the community?
OL: Funding and resources, as well as the lack of women role models in the same profession who are involved in charity work.
SC: Are there any challenges you face as a woman?
OL: Defying social expectations within our community. I’m very bold and direct; sometimes I worry that I might come off a bit aggressive.
SC: Does your profession connect in any way to the volunteerism you do?
OL: Yes, I’m a Registered Nurse by profession. I use my professional skills to help people in Oromia and in the states.
SC: Who are some Oromo women, past or present, who have inspired you?
OL: My mother is my biggest inspiration. When I was in elementary school (in Oromia), she took up the role of being a father and mother to protect us and raised nine kids all on her own, when my father was in and out of prison for supporting Oromo causes. I can loudly say, all the resilient Oromo women who raised their kids while their husbands were in prison, got killed or fled the country for supporting Oromo causes are my inspiration!
SC: What has been your most rewarding accomplishment to date?
OL: Saving the lives of many people from the simplest yet deadliest diseases in Oromia. Helping the hospitals in W. Oromia with capacity building, donating medications and medical supplies.
SC: What is your advice for young Oromo women who are looking to get involved?
OL: I would encourage them to take part in activities that impact the well-being of their respective communities; whether it is health care, education, business or mentorship.
SC: Last question 🙂 What are your hopes and dreams for the future of our country?
OL: My hopes are that all people in Oromia get basic health care, every pregnant woman can give birth to her infant without any labor-related complications and to have a low infant mortality rate! A peaceful country with peaceful people leading the way!
For more information about East African Medical Relief Foundation, an organization Obse works with, please visit www.eamrf.org
Bravo, Obse! Jabaadhu!
Siiqqee Chronicles Team