Growing up in Europe with family members in former Yugoslavia exposed me early on to the atrocities, effects and displacements caused by war and conflict. As a child of multinational parents allowed me to travel to some of the richest and poorest countries in the world, but also highlighted the widespread social inequality that exists and affects so many people. To advocate for change, support people in need and make a difference in their lives soon became my guiding principles in life.
In addition to my Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, my Master’s degree in Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, and my work across varying fields, I have always tried to follow this motivation through volunteering and internships in areas of poverty and homelessness, anti-discrimination, reintegration and rehabilitation of former prisoners and drug addicts. Six months of working for a local, community-based organization in a small village in Uganda in 2014 truly brought to light the extreme effects that poverty, post-war, and poor health conditions have on a community- especially the youngest and most vulnerable members of society. I decided to found the NGO Phoenix Orphanage Organization with two local Ugandan partners in order to address this need and to provide home, food, access to education and medical assistance to the orphans and children, who have no one else looking after them.