Azra Berbić – a lawyer, journalist and activist from Kakanj: ”I believe that changes are up to us, young people”
Azra Berbić was born in Kakanj and holds a degree in law. She is lucky enough to be working in her profession. In addition to this, she also works as a journalist. She is a correspondent of the magazine Preventeen, which is one of the projects of the NGO Narko NE. The magazine focuses on youth topics, mostly of secondary school and university students.
The magazine is issued four times per year and it is a thematic magazine. The issue that we are preparing now is an alternative one, and the previous one is the last one this year and it focuses on human relations. We have many correspondents from the whole country and they are mostly university students and secondary school students. We distribute the magazine free of charge to all secondary schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina and some primary schools, ministries of education, faculties and other institutions, NGOs. We also have our own distribution, persons with whom we had an interview. Whoever expressed the wish to do so is given an issue of the magazine.
I am also a volunteer of the citizens’ association Oštra nula from Banja Luka. I cooperate with them and write for their blog, mostly on women’s rights, girls’ rights, labour, sex, gender and gender equality-related issues. I also participated in their project activism weekend and continued cooperating with them. I recently attended an international conference in Banja Luka that they organised. And the cooperation is great, I really like it.
Narko NE has numerous projects and I participated, among other things, also in No risk. It focuses on informing youth about all possible aspects of addiction and potential risks. This is mostly related to secondary school students. They have many projects, and they mostly relate to youth, such as ”Older brother, older sister”.
We give an alternative to all young people. The basic goal is to inform youth and to spread the positive energy, positive stories about young and successful people that achieve something different with their knowledge, their talent and get acquainted with problems and risks. Whenever something is current, it is frequently written about in a satirical and funny way and topics, trends and negative phenomena in the society are covered.
When it comes to work, I am more than satisfied. I work as a lawyer at a private company that has a very good reputation at the state level. I am very satisfied, especially given the fact that it is a company with relatively young employees and it offers good opportunities to young persons.
What do you think about young people who are leaving, or generally about people leaving Bosnia and Herzegovina?
I know many young people that studied abroad. My best friend got a great scholarship to study abroad at one of the most renowned colleges in the world, and she lived in the States. She also had an opportunity to stay there, but she came back here and she lives her American dream here, because she earns the money there, and spends it here, and she is more than satisfied. She, for example, was not delighted with the US and their lifestyle.
I think that everyone who has a chance and wishes to go abroad, especially young persons, should seize the opportunity and go abroad. There are excellent opportunities now that young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are using to a very small extent, through the Erasmus programme. There are several programmes and I think that it should be used as much as possible. I am facing a great dilemma – to leave the comfort zone or to do the Erasmus programme. However, there are other things that make me want stay here. But I do believe that at a certain moment of my life I will seize the opportunity and go abroad. Because I believe that we should be ambassadors and that we are the best ambassadors of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I believe that our mission is to go there, to learn, to take everything we can, to meet other cultures, different systems of value, to see how proper countries function. But I believe that it would be much better if everyone who can came back here and to use it. Because I believe that it is up to us to bring about change. Honestly, I think that it is much more difficult to go somewhere, see how great everything is functioning, acquire knowledge and experience, get back here and create a successful story here, instead of just going there and build a life.
I therefore believe that it would be the best alternative. I am up for that.
I believe that if one goes there, they see how young people live, how they get jobs, how people study and work all the time. In our country, there are still remains of the socialist system and a mind-set according to which we believe that the state should provide us with everything. That is not the case. We are the ones that have to create the conditions in order for the state to give us a chance, if it is up to the state. But that is not always the case. It is true that we have a terrible system and an enormous bureaucratic apparatus, but that will change sooner or later, because it has to.