Photo: Sanja Vrzić
A human rights activist fighting for a better position of Roma and other women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the founder of the Roma women association “Bolja budućnost” from Tuzla and a member of the Roma Council.
Indira was born in Jajce, but today she lives in Tuzla. She entered the NGO sector as the secretary of a Roma association in Tuzla. When the management of the association rejected her proposal to establish a department for women at the association, Indira established a Roma women’s organisation in 2000. One of the first projects of the association dealt with problems related to discrimination and prejudice towards Roma women in a precarious financial situation. The association has implemented more than 180 projects related to problems faced by Roma women, which are linked to topics such as gender equality, importance of reproductive health, economic empowerment, women in politics, education, etc. Members of the association are not exclusively Roma women – the association aims to provide information to all citizens about their rights and mechanisms of protection. The association also received multiple awards for its work.
Indira is the first woman who established an association of Roma women in Bosnia and Herzegovina and her voice is the first voice about the position of this extremely disadvantaged and marginalised group. She chose the path of lifelong learning – she is currently a fourth-year student at the Faculty of Economics in Tuzla, she attends various seminars and she encourages her colleagues to transfer their knowledge.
“Everyone should receive help, but I also think that people need to help themselves. I believe in the old saying: You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime. We all need to help ourselves. Someone will recognise it and help us even more. That is success.”
FRAGMENT OF THE PAST
“The awards and letters of thanks I got for my work, but also for the association, mean a lot. This is the award we received from the organisation CARE Luxembourg, which is be-stowed every two years and it has never before been bestowed upon an organisation in Europe. We brought it to Europe, to the Balkans, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, to our City of Tuzla, for the first time. The award therefore means a lot and it shows that someone abroad has recognised the contribution we made to the development of the society, not just the Roma community. We brought some changes, we are improving things and fighting for a better future.”