Kadir Jara – DiversityJobs Scholarship Finalist for April 2012’s scholarship program for diversity and minority students is proud to announce Kadir Jara as one of the three finalists for its April deadline application. Vote for his essay by clicking the thumbs up button at the bottom of the page, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

Kadir Jara’s Essay:

How did you choose your major? What obstacles have you had to overcome and what will it mean to you to graduate with this degree?

When I was five years old, with the glistening morning sunrise and the cacophony of the roosters, we left. We fled Ethiopia when I was a toddler resting on the fragile, wilting frame of my mother. We left our homeland with the sunrise in front of us trailed by a silhouette of our struggle.  The conditions were so hopeless and desperate that my family did not expect I would live through the famine. I was malnourished and slowly dying.

My family received word that my father was sent to prison because of the work he did for the government, and a couple of weeks later he was killed.  The death of my father caused my older brothers to join the war. I have not seen my older brothers since. The rest of my family fled for a better life to Nairobi, Kenya as refugees.While in Kenya, I saw some of the most terrifying tortures that were done to people. I saw people being burned alive right in front of my very eyes. At a young age, I realized that my life was going to be changed forever in many different ways.

My life was nothing more than a desert of dirt that was slowly eroding with the howling of the wind. It was not the hunger that caused suffering, it was the thirst. I licked my lips to keep my mouth moist enough to hydrate my mind, and even so, my mind could only grasp suffering. My mind couldn’t comprehend the time; I saw my entire family gradually and unwillingly fading away. I did not know there was any other life besides a life of suffering.  The sorrow was harrowing. With the cold dawn-dated breeze that froze my memories and tattooed my mind, I look back. Images of my native land now flood my memories: the sleepy village, the echoing in the distant background of sporadic gunshots that then sounded so natural.  Our decision to leave had to be immediate yet furtive, so my other siblings would not know we were abandoning them.   Rather than making me callous to a life of suffering, I have come to appreciate little things like the sight of a smile or the refreshment of water. Being appreciative of what I have is my hope.

Even though I have survived, I remind myself that I still have family members dying from the plight I have escaped.  I lived many years in Kenya before immigrating to America. When I was 15 years old, I moved to Denver, Colorado and I began attending Hinkley High School as a sophomore, without knowing one word of English. After three years, I received my high school diploma and continued attending Community College of Denver; because of financial reasons, I could not afford to attend a big school. Now I am about to receive my Associate Degree and my dream is to continue my education by transferring to University of Colorado at Denver to get my bachelor degree in Business Administration. 

I chose a degree in business because I love to organize, plan, and manage, and I have the ability to maximize my resources to reach a profitable goal.  I speak four different languages – Oromo, Amharic, Kiswahili, English, and also have a basic understanding of Somalia and Spanish, which would be useful in today’s global economy.  I can own my own business and use my leadership skills toward my future. The Business Administration degree provides a broad base education in business that is intended to extend one’s career options. 

I hope I have an opportunity to receive Diversityjobs scholarship to support me with my financial needs. I have been in America for six years. I work part-time and go to school Full-time, and my family receives government support with the rent. English is my fourth language, and I am sure that my background would enrich the diversity of your scholarship. The biggest challenge right now is my financial needs. Having gone through many obstacles in my life, one of the biggest ones was coming to America because this meant that everything was going to change; the culture, the people, the language, and nothing was to ever be the same again. Leaving my friends and loved ones behind was one of the most grueling parts. Yet as scary as it was, I was ecstatic and ready for America, the land of opportunity, where dreams are no longer dreamt, but lived. Since I have been getting government support for my basic needs, it is even difficult to think what I will have to do to pay for college. My mom, a single mom, started to work again just a few months ago to try and get more support for us. But even that is sometimes not enough.

As you might have noticed, I am still struggling a little bit with my grammar in English, but still that is not stopping me from trying to reach my dreams. It is a big challenge, but not bigger than my determination.