Below is a piece of text written by a young girl named Almira that I’ve translated into English. Her story is painful to read, highlighting the issues many people in Bosnia and Herzegovina suffer from. Yet, as I worked on this text I found much to be celebrated. Almira is bright, inquisitive, and has a strong sense of justice. She exhibits leadership qualities – although she sees problems around her, she naturally seeks out solutions. As such, she beautifully illustrates why Charity Bosnian Kids’ work is so vital. By offsetting some of the effects poverty has on development, we give bright young minds the opportunity to flourish. Your generosity helps to support Almira and provide children like her the chance to succeed.

Sara, ambassador Charity: Bosnian Kids

I am Almira and I’m in the ninth grade at Hasan Kikić Elementary School. I came to this school in the seventh grade, and not under the best of circumstances. Problems have followed me throughout my life, but particularly so in that period. I was afraid of meeting new people, despite being very communicative. I was scared of whether or not my peers would accept me, and my teachers as well. However I quickly realised that I had met life-long friends. I was particularly impressed that there were no divisions in the class based on finances, which had affected my mental health a lot before: in addition to my issues at home I faced bullying from my peers. At that time I lost belief in myself, seeing myself as less worthy than others, and as a consequence I am now highly emotional and struggle to find people I can trust. But I was accepted by the others as though we had always known each other, and the teachers also are very kind. In each teacher I see a person who I can trust in every way. 

I was an excellent student throughout my schooling, my favourite subject being Bosnain, especially literature classes where we could share our opinions and compare the work to real life. I love reading books by our authors, especially Branko Ćopić. Somehow, in his writing, I find instructions for the future. I admire the way in which he shows that this world isn’t quite so great as it may seem at first, that our paths can be thorny, but most importantly he shows us ways we can persevere through it. In books, and sometimes when I write about my life, I find consolation and a ‘best friend’. I also like maths and physics because I see them as a struggle towards a solution. My challenge in school comes in the form of art culture, as I do not find myself in it.

When I grow up I would like to become many things, but all my desires lead me to protecting and helping my people and all those who need it; I would like to give people, especially children, everything that I can now admit I needed, because I believe that even my short journey through life has taught me life lessons. In a way I’m grateful for it all because I think I’ve now built my attitude, myself. For example I would like to study law, because these days all around me I see we are losing our rights and we aren’t fighting hard enough for them. For that reason I wish to serve justice in accordance with what one deserves. Another choice would be criminology, with which I would protect all women, children and people from all kinds of violence. I would also highlight to people the dangers of narcotics and speak on their consequences, as this is something we rarely talk about in our country and yet there is a growing number of people falling into it. It pains me so much that these are young people, and I want to speak, to scream in every way about it, but so that they do not take me in the wrong way. I believe my reasons for all this comes back again to the situation my family struggled to drag itself out of. I was born again when my family, more accurately my father, removed himself from all that.

I would also like to be a social worker or educator for the same reasons as above. Primarily I want to enroll at a university, although I don’t speak so freely about that. I don’t want to put my parents in an uncomfortable position, as I’m aware that they cannot afford it. I live with my family in social housing in conditions that are not the easiest to adapt to, but considering I used to live in a small mud-brick house where there were only two rooms – and we could merely dream of a warm bathroom – this apartment has been a step towards realising my dream. In that house I lived with my parents and two sisters, one of whom is a child with special needs who could hardly progress for the better in those conditions, and we could barely afford the wheelchair we so desperately needed. Even now we live off my sister’s disability allowance, which she receives on the basis of her illness. That monthly income buys my father’s medicine and covers the bills. These are the reasons I strive to study, so that I can be in a position to help my parents and my sisters afford the lives they deserve as soon as possible. My ultimate goal, for which I take big steps, is to build my family a new home that is ours, a new beginning.