United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), originally known as the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, to defend their rights, and to help them fulfil their potential from early childhood through adolescence. Over the years, UNICEF has transformed many lives. One such story is the life of Bouchra Benghomari.
Benghomari, who is studying cellular and molecular biology at Northeastern University, says, “If it wasn’t for UNICEF, my mom wouldn’t be here.” Her mother, Khadidja Boutaleb, immigrated from Algeria to the United States in the late 1990s, fleeing a civil war in her home country. That was when UNICEF helped her by delivering the much-needed vaccinations to her home.
Benghomari has long striven to help others the way UNICEF helped her mother. She first got a taste of activism as a member of her high school’s Model U.N. club. According to her, she got a thrill from debating with her peers and working big, global issues together.
At 16 years old, Benghomari started a small UNICEF club at her school and encouraged her classmates to get involved hoping to yield concrete results leading to a real change. “I was passionate about wanting to get involved, politically, but I was worried that because I was so young, there wouldn’t be anything I could do,” she says.
During her senior year of high school, Benghomari was nominated to the UNICEF USA National Council. She was also named the youth representative for the organisation’s New England region.
Benghomari is focused on a goal to ensure good health and well-being for people across the globe. Specifically, she wants to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and Ebola. Her future plans are to pursue both a medical degree and a doctorate and eventually serve as an advisor to the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.