Gabriele Müller: born 1955 in Biberach, Germany; Diploma in Pedagogy; special education in Psychodrama; many years experience in work with traumatized women and children; offered therapeutic work, supervision and further education during war in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia for colleagues from women's projects; co-founder of Project SEKA.
Areas of work: Project manager; psychological-pedagogic leader; trainings in therapy, supervision, fundraising; public work.
"From an early age I took position in fighting against nationalism, racism and violence against women and children. The idea of Project SEKA came from my work during the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina. In the midst of all the madness I wanted to put up resistance with something positive, something like a vision becoming real- a secure, lovely place that gives women and children strength and courage. It should be a place for those who experienced violence and terror during the war, but also for colleagues who committed themselves tirelessly for the victims of violence, and for justice and peace in the world... When I see our project now I often wonder how well we managed to realize this... in spite of all the troubles and worries we had and still have to solve. SEKA is for me a piece of real utopia, an optimistic opposition in a world full of negative headlines."
Vera Dacic, was born in 1955 in Javorje, Montenegro, and moved as a child with her family to Gorazde, Bosna and Herzegowina. She got married there and for many years worked as manager of the dependance of a big trade firm. When the war started she fled with her two daughters over Montenegro to Munich, from where they returned to Gorazde after the end of the war. She became active in the women's NGO "Anima" in Gorazde and through this engagement attended one of the therapeutic groups for women activists in SEKA House. Since June 2004 she frequently supports the SEKA-Team as a volunteer.
Areas of work: Administration, communication, assistance in program-organisation, care of seminar- / therapy groups, gardening
"It was in 1999, when I heard first time about SEKA House - through friends. Then in summer 2002 a group of women and children from Gorazde were invited for the summer-program to SEKA-House. When they returned I listened to their enthusiastic impressions; so much appreciation, love, understanding and joy, that they had experienced in SEKA House… Then I got the chance in 2003 to participate in one of the therapy groups in SEKA House and later I joined the educational cycle for psychosocial helpers.
Like so many others also my family was deeply affected by the horror of war. This time and all the terrible events that happened, destroyed totally my self-confidence and my self-esteem. I locked myself like in an "inner jail", from which to escape I was not able and even did not want it any more… Through the therapeutic work in SEKA for the first time I began to care about myself, I found new strength, felt creativity and began to develop new self-esteem…..I began to get aware of my own needs and to take care for myself...
After having profited so much, I felt the wish, all this not to keep only for myself, but to spread it to others. So I was happy for the opportunity to join the SEKA-Team. It is wonderful to share all the knowledge, the capacities, the joy, the appreciation, the understanding, warmth and love, which I have got, with other women and children in House SEKA…. in my surroundings in Gorazde or where ever. Kuca SEKA is an oasis for the soul - for everyone, from wherever they are coming..."
Additional staff will be presented in the future.
Mirjana Bilan: Born 1945 in Ruma, Croatia; medical nurse and specialist for teaching intensive nursing and anesthesia to nursing students; thirty years professional experience in Germany. Founder and activist in various women's groups and projects; co-founder of Kuca SEKA.
Areas of work: coordination, logistics, organization, translation, care of groups, contact with authorities, administration, and public affairs.
"SEKA arose from my political work in Hamburg during the war in Former Yugoslavia. We cooperated with different anti-nationalistic organizations in Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Serbia, and supported them through public work and collecting donations. Through this work we were able to gain close contacts...
During our work in SEKA in the last years, I got a much clearer picture about how necessary SEKA is. As a matter of fact, five or ten SEKA's are needed. I am happy that we got such nice and capable colleagues, and that we understand each other so well. We can absolutely count on one another… sometimes it's hard to work on so many different levels at the same time, and for me it was also a big adjustment from living in Germany for thirty years to live in Croatia again. But when I see what we have done in such a short period of time I am really very proud. I am especially satisfied with what SEKA means for the women and children. They return empowered and encouraged for their everyday lives back home."
Marija Mišetic: born 1941 in Škrip/Island Brac; two grown children; worked many years as cook at restaurant "Panorama" in Splitska.
Area of work: master chef
"Through the owner of Panorama I found out about a women's organization that was looking for a cook. I immediately introduced myself and talked with Mirjana. In our conversation I found out what they wanted to do, and it was something that I liked very much. Not only this, but when everything was in order I could have a job all year long… There is a big difference between SEKA and restaurant work because here I can do my job independently and self-responsibly. I work here like it's my own kitchen. I am also very satisfied here with the relationships. I work for women and children with all my heart because it is my way of contribution- for them to feel lovely and comfortable in this house."
Fani Mišetic: born 1969 in Škrip/Island Brac; two children; formal training in gastronomy; Marija's daughter-in-law.
Areas of work: Housekeeper and kitchen aide
"I found out from Marija that Project SEKA needed one more employee. I was asked to help out at SEKA's opening ceremony and special meal, and it became clear to me then that I would accept the offer to work here… My work in SEKA means very much and it is a great experience for me, especially because of the relationships between colleagues. In SEKA there is no hierarchy, but teamwork. Everyone does her work independently and with her own responsibility. When I worked in hotels, the owner always intimidated me, the hierarchy was very strong, and I had no satisfaction from my work. Here I have the experience that it can be different, which gives me big motivation. In this project I became richer because I got to know a lot of different women and children and exchanged experiences with them. It's probably because of that fact that we are all women. I am happy that such a project exists in Splitska and hope that it will live for a long time."
Vesna Šobot: born 1951 in Banja Luka/BiH; mother of two grown daughters; kindergarten teacher by profession, but lost her job where she had worked for 20 years because she's a Croatian minority. Since January 2002 she has supported the SEKA Team as a volunteer every few weeks.
Areas of work: pedagogic work with children, care of seminar/therapy groups, logistics, handy-work, gardening, "Show-boating."
"I was delighted to accept when I was asked to join the SEKA Team because I connect the project with beautiful remembrances, wonderful experiences and friendships. In 1999 and 2000 I was in a therapy group for professional colleagues/activists in SEKA-House and became acquainted with the project. It gave me new strength and a new quality in my life. In summer 2001 I worked for the first time with the SEKA-Team as a pedagogue for children during two of the recreational stays. I was happy to have a chance to work in my beloved profession again. For me, the atmosphere here is most important in SEKA-House, but especially in the team: openness, appreciation and kind-heartedness. I hold them in high regard and feel accepted by them. Everybody feels this light when they come to the house. Also the positive feedback from visitors-especially children who really blossom here- gives me satisfaction. No work in SEKA is difficult for me because everything I do makes me feel so deeply content."