Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
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From bullets and bombs to Mother of the Year:

War survivor Hasiba Cesko named Barnardos Australia’s Mother of the Year 2013.
By Motherpedia
Date: May 12 2013
Editor Rating:
motheroftheyear

Exemplifying everything a good mother is, Hasiba’s unimaginable fortitude and courage has seen her lead a remarkable life.

From a starving and alone 19 year old mother, making do on rice flour in war torn Bosnia, to immigrating to South Australia, Hasiba has worked her way up to run her own business and now Mother of the Year.

A hero to children Emir (son) and Elma (daughter), Hasiba has never let her chronic pain, caused by her years of hardship stop her providing for her children and being an inspiration to all she meets.

The national awards are held by leading child welfare charity Barnardos Australia to honour and celebrate special mothers who inspire, protect, love and nurture their children, in often the most extraordinary circumstances.

This is something Barnardos Australia wants for all children and particularly for those who are at risk of, or have been, abused.

Manisha Amin, Barnardos Director of Fundraising and Marketing said all the Mother of Year finalists for 2013 were ordinary women, doing extraordinary things to show the world that all children matter and should be given the space and opportunity to grow and be loved.

“All children and young people deserve safe and loving homes. Barnardos Australia holds these awards to celebrate mothers who provide a haven for children, often in very difficult circumstances.  They are an inspiration to us all,” she said.

Hasiba had her first child when she was just 19-years old. Four years later, she gave birth to her second child in the thick of the Balkan Wars. Her husband was in the army, so she spent her early 20’s carrying her daughter on her back, with her son by her side whilst fleeing from bullets, bombs and soldiers.

All while having little to no food; she managed to keep her family alive and immigrated to Australia in 1996. She started working at a factory, before she began a career as a cleaner. After a few years she bought a cleaning franchise, and then a cafe.

She now owns a successful Yiros shop, which is doing very well. Her life of hardship has left its toll on her body; she deals with chronic pain most days.

Despite this, Hasiba is always bright, funny and upbeat and a true inspiration to her children. Her daughter is starting a degree in Psychology this year, and her son and nominator Emir is also a small business owner.

In his nomination, Emir says “My mum is my hero and she should be Mother of the decade, but I’ll settle for the year.”

On winning the award, Hasiba showed great grace, humour and humility and said her children were her inspiration every day:

“When we had no food in Bosnia I would make bread from rice flour and Emir would call it chocolate, that’s inspiring.”

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