Marija is 35 years old. She works at the information service of Telekom. She writes love poetry and occasionally engages in acting.
Serbia without prejudices is a country where Marija would like to live. “Serbia in the future is Serbia without prejudices. It seems to me that the prejudices are something that is essentially part of our mentality. We have a problem with everything which is different, not only disability. We hardly can accept anything that doesn’t belong to us and that is not standard in our terms.”
The proximity of places in Serbia is something that she appreciates and considers positive. “What is good for me is that everything is easy to get to. And you realize that everything is close here when you go somewhere else where everything is somehow far away, and it takes you all day long to get from point A to point B. Also, the positive thing is that we all know each other and that when you walk down the street, there is always someone to help you. People here are different. We’re warm, in Europe, they’re more of business-like.”
Social policy for people with disabilities is a negative side of Serbia, says Marija. “The worrying thing is that social policy is upgrading very slowly. Disability issues are being resolved slowly. Architectural ramps are being built slowly. Social programs and pension and disability insurance plans are being worked on slowly. The problem of personal assistance for the employment of the people with disabilities is being resolved slowly. This is quite different than in the EU countries. Here, we are at the very beginning and far behind them.” Prejudices against the people with disabilities is also a problem in Serbia. “People in Europe have less prejudices against the people with disabilities than here, indeed. Nobody notices you there, and here, everyone knows everything about us, they know what we can do, what we can’t do, and before they meet us, they have an image that creates a barrier between us.”
Marija is a positive person. She can always see the light at the end of the tunnel, that is, an exit from an unpleasant situation, even though no one else can see that light. And that is her driving force and makes her look forward to the little things.