Happy 10th anniversary from Anela!
Today is a great day, the 10th anniversary of great love, support, inspiration, struggle and will!
You have been there for 10 years, selflessly helping a large number of students, their families, friends, people, and maybe you are not even aware of your importance and values you provide.
I am Anela Zorlak and I will tell you my story. The story of a little girl from Goražde whose life you have changed, and whose life will never be the same from the day she met you and became part of the Bosana family.
2013 was the year when I finished high school and bravely decided to follow my dreams and enrol at the faculty which wasn't known and understood at the time - Faculty of Genetics. A lot of people from my environment were against that idea, they tried to change my mind, create my path, but I didn’t give up.
I come from a very modest family, a working-class family where my mother and father, workers with minimum wages, educated their two daughters. 2013 was the year when my father lost his job, he was declared as a technical surplus in the company where he worked. 2013 was the year when my sister studied at the University of Sarajevo, 2013 was the year when my mother had a salary of 400 BAM, and our monthly loan instalment was 375 KM. 2013 was the year when my father announced at the lunch table that we will fight to get my school paid and that I don't have to give up the desire to proudly wear a white coat one day and work with human genes. 2013 was the year when I asked myself the question: "how?".
I was a dreamer and a brave girl who had no problem writing to people and asking them for help and advice - so I decided to write to Amra Džeko via her Facebook profile. I was guided by the logic that I have nothing to lose, only to gain something. I wrote to her and asked if she knew anyone or any foundation that grants scholarships to students, told her my story and hoped for an answer. I soon received an unexpected answer, Amra forwarded me to Senita Slipac - Kalamujić and that is where my life begins to take on a new dimension!
I got in touch with Senita, got all the information related to the Bosana Foundation and decided to apply. It took me 10 days to prepare the documentation, and in those 10 days I felt for the first time in my life that I wanted something, and I was ready to fight for it. After completing the application, I received an invitation for an interview that was held in Sarajevo. And I have to tell you a secret... When I came to the interview and when Senita appeared (I still to this day remember what she was wearing and which bag she had) I was shocked because she was just an "ordinary girl," an "ordinary girl" with a warm smile and a big heart.
After the interview, I received an email with the information that I did not receive a scholarship, but that I got the opportunity to be in a Professional development program, which I, of course, accepted. Each new level of the application, new meeting with you, I considered as a success and I was proud of myself that I managed to stay in the foundation.
You were great people in my eyes, people with whom I didn’t know how to communicate, even though I’m a great talker. You know that feeling when you have a high degree of respect for someone that you become speechless in their presence. I was often speechless in front of you, your kindness, your heart, and your sincerity.
My journey in the Bosana family was accompanied by the distrust of people from my environment. No one believed that I, little Anela from even smaller Goražde, got the opportunity to meet people like you and that you would invest in my education. After one year in the Professional development program, I wrote a request to be granted pocket money of 50 BAM, because my monthly allowance at that time was 50 BAM. Today, almost 7 years since that evening, I remember every detail when I received your answer to my request. I asked you to help me with 50 BAM of pocket money, and you answered that I will get a scholarship that covers my monthly pocket money, my housing and a fund that can cover all the other expenses that I have at the faculty such as books, supplies, fieldwork, etc. I was sitting on the floor of my apartment and reading your email, crying, screaming, and then crying again and so on in a circle, I couldn't even tell my parents what was going on from the excitement. That day I got a "once in a lifetime chance" to improve my life.
All the years of my education you have been with me, both physically and with your being. You spent your time answering my questions, my doubts, my problems. You gave me your support as best you could and knew. Your answer was never "no", but instead "how can we find a solution". Because of you, I met many people, friends for life, got the opportunity to participate in a conference that opened so many doors for me, connections with people from my field. Because of you, I woke up every day with the desire to be an even better person than I am. I gained a new insight into the world, my self-confidence grew, I experienced the most beautiful moments of my life, I overcame all my fears, I dreamed big dreams, and because of you, I dream even bigger dreams today.
Today I am 26 years old, I have a Master's degree in Genetics, I have experienced many beautiful moments, I have done many great things that I can be proud of, but being a part of the Bosana family is what I am the proudest of.
Thank you for helping me to become a Master of Genetics at the age of 24 with a grade average of 9.36, thank you for guiding me through the dead ends and being my light and my guide. Thank you for believing in me and for never letting me feel less valuable. Thank you for investing in my education, in my dreams and my vision, for introducing me to so many people, in making it easier for my family when they didn’t have a way out. You accepted my family as your own and took care of us through all the hardships that life brought upon us. Thank you for every smile you put on my face - and there were a lot of them, thank you for every tear of joy you gave me, thank you for the feeling of belonging to one big family. I will not write now all the things that you did for me, because it would take too much space and time for you to read. I will just say that I consider myself as a part of Bosana and that a small family from Goražde will forever be grateful to you, and nothing will be good enough to thank you for all that you have done for me and my family.
I am proud of myself, of all the struggles I have fought and the ones that I am still fighting, but I could not win the hardest battles alone, I won them solely because I had you! THANK YOU very much for everything you have done for me, for everything you still do for me and other students. I don’t like to highlight the title that comes after my name, but on this occasion, I want to emphasize it. I am Anela Zorlak, Master of Genetics, Master with an average of 9.36 whom YOU helped to realize these dreams and gain the title. Someday tomorrow, when I get my doctorate, you will also be the reason for it! I hope that you are proud of me every time you see me and that you are proud of your choice and decision to invest your time, love, support, understanding and money in me. I will be a part of the Bosana family forever, I will love and defend it as my blood family, to make myself available to every future student and you so I can give back my small contribution.
I promise I will continue to sail bravely through life with many victories, to make you proud and happy from any part of the world, with the greatest badge on my chest, the badge of Bosana Alumni Student!
P.S. Many thanks to all those people who have been supporting Bosana Foundation for years, who are investing in young people with big dreams. Thank you for working from the shadows for a better tomorrow.
For all that you are and all that we are going to become together,
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!