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Ivana – Children’s Committee member 2021

My name is changemaker Ivana. I am 18 years old. I live in the multicultural city of Sarajevo which is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is called “small Jerusalem” because in the surrounding of 500 m you can find Catholic and Orthodox churches and Islamic mosques.

I finished high school as the best student and got accepted to the oldest and respected economy faculty at the University of Sarajevo. I believe that through good education and financial knowledge we can reform current financial systems to educate and help all children in the world.

As a child, I was thought to respect people for their qualities and to share common goals like love, peace, help, and faith which are common values of every religion. My mother always says that living without prejudices and stereotypes is pure freedom.

As a Catholic, I was thought in my church to help others, motivate them to share good and peace. Working with different religious leaders, I was privileged to meet all religions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and I became a rich “culture knower”.

When I was a child, with my sister, I started to realize the main problems of children in B&H which are discrimination, prejudices, stereotypes, poverty, and violence. With the support of local NGOs and volunteering experience, we made great initiatives for children in our local community.

All my free time I am spending it as a volunteer and helping implement projects in my country related to the four initiatives of Arigatou International (DPAC, End Child Poverty, Ethics Education for Children, and the GNRC). I am more than happy to see the results of our work as small positive changes in our local communities.

With a team of six youth in B&H, we suggested to the government to create a law to protect young people who do volunteering work in organizations, so their rights are fully respected, and their efforts are valued and appropriately paid.

This was a big problem in B&H, because young people were working for companies and NGOs free, without payment, and they were exploited. We received the support of citizens and collected 5.000 signatures to promote this law that was finally accepted by the Ministry of Justice and approved at the country level.

I am thankful, first of all, to God who gave me faith in good, hope, and strength to fight for all children in the world. My biggest motivation is my family who teaches me to be thankful for every day in which I learned and experienced good as an example of God’s strength.

With respect and honor, I want to thank Arigatou International for giving me the opportunity to raise my voice, growth my knowledge and strength as a child. It gave me the confidence to motivate others as my true and clear mission of life.

With this quote from Mother Teresa, I want to motivate all of you who are reading this article to act and motivate others: “Do not wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

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