Azemina Tomljenovic

November 14, 2018

Azemina obtained her undergraduate degree in Economy, Finance and Insurance and worked as a stock broker and accountant at AW Broker Company between, followed by work at a Romani NGO, Kali Sara RIC, where she became involved with Romani activism. Next, she worked with her local municipality to create an action plan for resolving challenges Roma face in housing, health insurance, education and employment—the plan was adopted by the municipal council in October 2017.

“While creating this document and working in municipal administration I saw how much it means for people to have a representative and how this representative can do a lot for the people whom they represent. If you do not have a representative, however, you also do not have any interest toward the people in need, or issues such as education for children, employment, housing, Roma identity, language and culture, gender balance, etc. Without representation, it is as if the people and their problems never existed: I came to the conclusion that, as largest national minority in B&H, the Roma people need to have a strong and educated leader. This year I was invited to a presentation about the RGPP program. At that presentation I realized that I could improve my knowledge about my Roma identity, language and culture, and personal skills while additionally developing my critical thinking, public speaking and debate skills. Another important aspect of this program is the exposure it offers to Roma issues and solutions around the world. My plans for the future are to enroll for an MA in public policy and to return to my country, where I can start my career as a Roma politician and represent my people in the hope that my work will improve our standard of living and break the pattern of social prejudice against Roma. My message is that we should never give up, no matter how many times we have fallen. Dreams make us who we are. Knowledge is priceless. Fight for your education.”