Life Stories

selimovicI was born in 1964. I have lived alone when my father and mother died, and the youngest sister got married. I can do all the work as well as other women, cook, store, do apartment and personal hygiene, go to the store to buy the necessary things… I was locked up in the apartment after the death of my parents, brother locked me up because of the people, and did not even believe in me. Boris, a social worker brought me into Association. I was in a group for Self Representatives. Now I realize that I am like everyone else, that no one has the right to offend me, I have a right to respect others and that they respect me.

Selimović Ajša





I was in Institution, where I slept. I had a doll. There’s no a lot of kids, and there are some dangerous kids as well, I was afraid. Nurse gives me a shot and I fall asleep. When my dad came for me he bought new pants, a new shirt and sneakers. He told me that we are going to Banovici to see my aunt.

Mehičić Alma



memisevicDuring the war it was very hard for me, but I was doing something in order to survive. After the war, mother died and life became difficult. I worked in a cafe, wearing crates, sorting out the cafe. I had few friends. I soon fell ill. I do not know who took me to the hospital. I was three months on Psychiatry Department. When I recovered situation at home was even worse, I had no place to go back. My brother lost his job, I needed help. My sister have heard of this Association. Agreed with Professor Fata for my accommodation. I wasn’t hard to fit in, I fell in love here. At the Center, we have workshops, I have learned how to make boxes of dry leaves, flower vases from bottles. Every month I would get a salary. And I helped my brother with those salaries, I save 2-3 salaries and give him, I already have everything here. I’d love to get any job, just clean-fair.

Sadil Memišević


kovacevicI was born in Lukavac, my mother died in childbirth when was delivering me and my father disappeared in the war. They gave me in the Institution Bjelave (Sarajevo), they had me as a baby and gave me the name. The last time I was in Tuzla is when a social worker sent me to Bakovic Institution… Now I live with the family, this is life when you have your house, few of us in the family, you have someone to talk to, people respect you. We live like everyone else. There are more good people in Bakovic which would be good to take out from Institution. Just thank God that he gave prof. Fata to take us back to a normal life, and to live like other normal people.

Zora Kovačević


pavunkovicI didn’t go to school, that’s what they said at school, the other children did attend. My father and mother loved me, I listened to them. After my mother’s death father and me were alone. When my father died, my sisters gave me to Institution in Sarajevo. I had a room in the basement, we had our own wardrobe. One guy over there – “fool” had raped me. Social worker Boris placed me in a protective home. Ivo came to visit, he was in Association with Fata. We started to entertain. And then Fata had me moved with her. And our neighborhood is good, they welcome us and are fine with us. *** Here life is beautiful, just my soul hurts when it’s Christmas time and there is no my family, but my friends are with me and we have nice Christmas.

Nevenka Pavunković


osmicI was first who came out of the Institution in Bosnia. I have started to go out in the Tuzla city, theater… The Center is place where I met my wife, at first she was my friend, we went out together, after the Centre I’ve walked her home, we often went for a coffee in town. She told me about her life, she had a very hard life, just like me. That friendship was developed into love. We were together about six months and decided to get married. We had a wedding at the Hotel Bristol, at the wedding there were all my friends from the Centre, there was my brother, a lot of students as well as some friends from Pazarić. Prof. Fata and Novalija who took me out from Pazarić were our wedding godparents. Father in-law gave us an apartment to live, he moved into his house. In the building where I live, we have very good relationship with our neighbors.

Nazil Osmić


medicMy name is Medic Mile, I was born in Banja Luka. After school I went to the Institution in Cirkin field near Prijedor. They gave me into Institution because of the other children. Children from school often urged me to steal, I told my mom and to protect me she sent me into the Institution. I think it’s the right thing, that I would not be raised on the streets because my mom worked day and night. She was a nurse.
I just hung out with the family, I had no friends. I was lonely. Since 1998 I’m coming to the Center for Self Representation. Self-representation program has changed my life. We want to enter into society, that we are not treated as unable to realize our human rights and to live a life worthy of human. We fight for the realization of our basic human rights, the right to speech, the right to be heard, the right to be treated like adults. We have the right to represent ourselves and all members of my group can do the same.

Mile Medić


ventic… When my mother died, I lived with my sister, she could not be with me because she had a husband and their son Ante and she gave me to the Institution in Pazarić. I went to Pazarić, there you cannot say “I don’t what that”, what they command you, you have to do it, there is no “can not”. Living conditions are such that you have to listen to nurses, you can not run because the police is in Hadzic. I would never ever return to Pazarić, now my life is good, and I respect Fata. Here, after a morning meeting I work in a workshop, I get my salary and schedule it for a whole month, and when I run out of money Fata gives to me. In Tuzla, and in self-advocacy group, I learned a lot, but most importantly I want to be just a human.

Ivo Ventić


canicBrothers took me to The Institute – Zovik on their lap. I was there incapable to walk for three and a half years and then nurses overthere started to teach me how to walk. I loved to work in the laundry room but they did not let me, at the end they did, I’ve been over dirty laundry, put it in the machine, I knew how to turn on laundry washer and the one that dries, I knew how much powder to put… I was 31 years there, then came Fata and pulled me out of the Institute. When I entered the apartment I said I like it here and I have a right to eat as much as I can. Now I feel great. I cook, I do what I can, if I cannot do something, ask for help. I can cook everything except pie, pie, I do not know. I try as much as I can, I’ve learned a lot of things. I bathe, shave. I would never return to the Institute, here I have good food, I eat as much as I want, I go to listen to live music in the hotel “Bristol”

Čanić Anto


bogdanovicMy name is Snjezana. I do not remember my father or mother. I am from Odzak. I was brought up by baba-grandfather and mother. Mom was good but, baba drank a lot. When he was drunk he would hit me and my mom. They didn’t work and had no children. Baba was always in a bar, and me and my mom were scared when he come home. Mom’s stomach ached and she died, mostly because of baba. He used to spent all money on drinks, mom didn’t know what to make to eat. When my mom died, I came to Tuzla. Here I don’t have baba and mom but I got Ajša, I love her like a mother, she makes me lunch and taught me how to cook, bathes me and learned how to bathe myself. In the Center I have my sister, she teaches me and I love it. There are many, many friends.

Bogdanović Snježana


mrkonjicBecause of injustice and illiteracy I went to Bakovic before this war, I had no idea where I was taken, I thought I was going to Sarajevo to chase justice with them. I spent 12 years in Bakovic. There I was complaining to take me out of there. For days I did not eat or drink, a lot of people are there, I did not belong to them. And the doctor was amazed that I was given there. For 12 years I prayed to God to come to Tuzla and God has granted my prayer. Now I’m in Tuzla, in the family, have fulfilled my wishes, I walk through my Tuzla, I was in my perimeter of the St. Ma’am, I saw my house, and I was in Tuzla in the church and in paroka I confessed. I prefer to read as much as I have, when you’re illiterate they can make you sign everything. Every day we leave the house, and go to the Center, I like morning meeting in the Center, to find out more.

Mrkonjić Janja


hodzicI like that I have our Center and that I’ll stay with them, and when my mom dies. I will live in my apartment with my mates and defectologist, and they will never give me into Institution. Once I was in Bakovic with Fata. I was afraid of wires and their rooms. With center I go on excursions, mountain, sea, lake, in theater, seminars. I’m happy that I beat fear of the dentist. Now without problem I go to the dentist, I’m going to draw blood, I’m not afraid of hairdressers. They are no longer afraid of a dog or a cat, and I used to be afraid and sparrow. Now I am not afraid of anything. I love football, basketball and handball. It’s very nice to hang out with children and young people who go to school. I have much to learn from them. I am happy and pleased with myself. I’d like to meet a girl and love as Martin and to get married. This is my great wish.

Hodžić Željan