Our meeting on Wednesday 22 February 2023 had a speaker from the Rotary Club of Battersea Park, Senia Dedić.
Senia told her story and how, at the age of three, her family had uprooted itself from Sarajevo in Yugoslavia to Dhakkar in East Pakistan so that her father could undertake a major Power Station project there. War had intervened and the family returned to Yugoslavia. By then, Senia was speaking English, and reading and writing in English, but she had to quickly master the Cyrillic Alphabet and a new language.
A few years later, her father got another major project in Iraq, and the family moved there until, once again, war intervened in the form of the Iran Iraq war. The family returned once again to Sarajevo.
Senia settled down to further studies until her wedding plans and studies were interrupted, this time by the Balkans War. Her husband was drafted, and she fled to Switzerland. After studying there at the International School, her visa expired. Her family had lost everything in what was now Bosnia Herzegovina. Being stateless, she managed to get into England, and resumed her studies here.
After getting married to her fiancé and bringing up three children, she understood the problems that single mothers experience trying to connect to their community and trying to start businesses. She set up a consultancy to advise them, and that in turn led to more and more volunteering and joining a Rotary Club.
In time all her work was recognised and in 2022 she was nominated for the British Empire Medal which will be presented to her this year at the Tower of London. This was a truly inspirational talk, and one much enjoyed by the members of the Club.