Part of InternewsNext, a series highlighting 30 youth-led media initiatives.
Anes and Enis Golubic are 16-year-old twin brothers who live in Hadzici, a suburb of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Enis suffers from cerebral palsy, which impairs his vision and movement. Nevertheless, he loves to dance and play sports, and he attends regular classes at a public high school where his favorite subjects are history and social sciences.
Anes, an aspiring filmmaker, produced an amateur documentary about his brother, the struggles he encounters in daily life, and how he is working to achieve his goals. His physics teacher encouraged him to submit it to the “Seize the Day with Me” disability-related film festival in Novi Sad, where the film won an award for its screenplay against professional competitors from other European nations.
In Bosnia, people with disabilities are often hidden from the public eye due to a sense of shame, widespread discrimination, and a lack of specialized accommodations for their needs. However, the twins’ mother did everything she could to integrate her son into society, which helped him develop confidence in himself. One of the biggest problems for Enis in school has been his “bad” handwriting, which teachers have trouble reading, leading them to give him poor grades. Despite the discrimination Enis sometimes encounters, he enjoys school and intends to study history at a university. He hopes to one day become a politician so he can contribute to ethnic reconciliation within Bosnia.
“I think that education is the key to success, because uneducated people are the easiest to manipulate,” Enis says, “The national divisions in our country, “two schools under one roof” [referring to ethnic segregation in schools] and stuff…I think it would be better if we all just considered ourselves Bosnians and turned to more important matters. Most of my peers and youth in general in Bosnia and Herzegovina say they want to leave. But I would love to stay here and help to change things.”
Radio Sarajevo‘s Manjine.ba, an online portal for minorities and underprivileged people in Bosnia, published a story about the twins and their film. The piece attracted broad interest among site users: it was republished in other media outlets, and several local TV stations filmed their own stories about the twins. The story also inspired Manjine.ba users to take action to help the boys: one reader donated a new laptop for Enis to use in school, and others provided a camera, tripod and other photo and video equipment for Anes and the multimedia workshop at his school. Thanks to the new equipment, Enis’ grades have improved and Anes is contemplating his next film project.
Manjine.ba was launched in September 2011 through small grant funding from Internews. Internews’ work in Bosnia and Herzegovina is supported by USAID.