- OccupationAccount Executive
- CompanyClear Channel Media and Entertainment
- LocationDenver, Colo.
Following the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, Hassina Omar’s father, Dr. Abdullah Omar, the country’s minister of public health, was jailed by Soviet forces on the outskirts of Kabul. Omar and her mom, Khadijah, were not allowed to see him, but they could bring him fresh laundry. For two years “we only knew he was alive by the scent of his clothes,” she says. Eventually the family escaped, though her father was severely injured in a car crash in Yemen in 1987 and died soon after. Her mother, a former education ministry official, passed away in 2007. Today, Omar (pictured above, right, with her mother) honors their memory by continuing the mission of Handicapped Children of Afghanistan, a nonprofit group founded by her mom. Omar raises about $40,000 a year to purchase wheelchairs, crutches, and bags of rice for children wounded and affected by war. “They just don’t deserve to be in the middle of all this,” she says.