Branka Đukić from Brčko is one of those persons that always think about how to improve the situation around them or how to help those that need it. She says that she has not planned to spend her whole life here, she even wanted to study abroad, but life kept bringing her back to Brčko, and it is obvious that her place is right here, and there are many reasons for it.

Branka Đukić:

I have a degree in economics and while I was looking for a job, I started working more with youth. In a way, I volunteer in the community, I take part in volunteer activities, I am trying to develop positive characteristics in persons in order to jointly change the setting and create the most stable community for us, and later on also for our children and new generations to come. I believe that it is an obligation that we all have and we should all dedicate ourselves to this. I am glad that in the District there are positive changes in this respect and I do hope that the dynamics will continue. There are certainly many more things that need to be changed, but we will come to that, we will gradually work on that as well.

I work at an NGO and we deal with youth problems in Brčko District, although this is not only a matter for an NGO. To put it simply, one is either interested in this or not. I personally participate in all situations where I can help. Sometimes, this goes beyond one’s own abilities, so that it becomes a Sisyphean task, an attempt to push for something that is not understood by others or that others do not consider necessary at the moment.

We worked a lot on youth education, informing youth about possibilities they have in a modern society, because Brčko District, although it is functioning to a certain degree, still has a large number of youth that unfortunately cannot get educated, or they leave school because of a lack of funds, so that we are trying to work with them and inform young people what they are offered in the educational system, and that it does not have to be only the education that their parents pay for.

To show them that there are other possibilities such as self-employment, engaging in one’s own activities, scholarships from donors, where someone appreciates one’s efforts, where one only has to be persistent enough and search for them.

Over the past period, I also worked on issues of socially disadvantaged families. I participated in a series of events where we tried to send children to treatment, to help families, to work on preparing some sort of social mapping and to send inquiries in order to see which persons still need help, because even 20 years after the war, people still live in very bad conditions. In some cases, the refugee or displaced person status is still active, there are persons that live on the margins, who should be a priority for our town. We managed to solve some of the cases, some of them we still have not, but it does not mean that we will not continue working on it.

I am glad that there are many people that support this kind of activities and participate. I am particularly glad that volunteer actions in town are always well accepted and persons of various profiles participate. So, the question is not whether, but rather how much can one help.

Do you see yourself in Brčko over the long term?

Well, I think I do. There were some moments when I was thinking about leaving the town, but I always kept coming back. I like this place, I grew up here, I have friends, my family, my childhood. I do not see myself elsewhere. I had the possibility to leave, but I somehow always preferred to stay and fight. There are days when I am down, of course, and I think that it might have been simpler somewhere else, if I had invested all these efforts somewhere else, who knows where I would be, what I would be doing, maybe I could change more. But then I realise that someone has to fight here, as well, we cannot all leave. So, that I am staying here for now, that is for sure.

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