Ever since she was a kid, Atefa knew she wanted to go into medicine. After watching a TV show about a girl with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Atefa started wondering how she could help people with MS and other conditions. Seeing her budding interest, her mom bought her a doctor’s kit and she loved it.
“I felt a strong passion towards the brain and nervous system. Besides, I always like to do things that others will find difficult,” shared Atefa.
Back in Afghanistan, she was in medical school and working at a hospital. “I planned on continuing my residency in America but did not know that I had to pass the United States Medical Licensing exams,” said Atefa.
However, Atefa does not shy away from a challenge. With her current immigration status, Atefa is not able to enroll at the University of Minnesota yet; but since arriving in Minnesota in February, she regularly takes the hour-long bus ride to the University of Minnesota to study at their library and meet with a professor. She was introduced to Dr. Andrew Grande, a neurosurgeon at UMN, and he has agreed to work with her.
Atefa plans to pursue a residency in neurosurgery once she is able to obtain the proper documentation.
“I see myself as a Neurosurgeon and that is not a dream, that is a plan and I believe I will get it,” she says.
Passing the necessary exams will take a lot of time and money, but she always reminds herself of her greater goal.
“I’ve always imagined stepping out of the operating room, telling family members that their loved one is out of danger, and seeing the smiles on their faces,” she says.
Going forward, Atefa also wants to travel the world, “I love traveling because it helps us thrive and learn about the world outside of just books. I want to travel to other countries and help people who need me the most. I hope I can see girls in Afghanistan studying; I want to help them with all my power.”
Atefa’s family is a part of Arrive Ministries’ Good Neighbor program; they are in friendship with a team of volunteers from The Grove Church.