I am Dajana from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Starting with where I am now, and going back to my early years, I will walk you through my journey to become the person I am today. I will share notable moments in my life – exploring the events that made me strong and introducing you to the individuals who supported me throughout the many challenges I faced on my journey. I am proud to be Roma, of who I am now, and of my dream to grow.I am 29 years old, and I am the only Roma out of 2,500 people in my district to have a degree. I work as a Roma Education Officer in the local Department of Education, where I am surrounded by young Roma eager to learn. I also work as a volunteer in the Roma community to share the importance of preparatory (preschool) programs and with parents.
I enrolled at the University of Ecology to study environmental protection and science. I was the only Roma girl at university, and I was very proud to be there. For the first time, I directly experienced discrimination from my peers. I didn’t let it deter me. I wanted to become a positive example for other Roma girls and boys. After graduation, I continued to a master’s program. I also volunteered in my community, supporting Roma children’s education.
When it was time to choose which high school to enroll in, I followed my father’s advice and enrolled in the Environmental Technician school. After three months, my father, a chimney sweep technician, asked me if I would like to enroll in the high school for chimney cleaners and attend the two high schools simultaneously.
I gladly accepted the double work!
I successfully attended two high schools and obtained two diplomas, making me an environmental engineer and a qualified chimney sweep technician.
During the first years of my education at primary school, I quickly learned what it feels like to be viewed through the lens of prejudice. Meanwhile, I was helping my father clean chimneys.
During my early years, I did not attend preschool. I loved to play with the brushes and tools my father used to clean chimneys.