She is one of the 1000 women proposed fort the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
She says: “Love and kindness will prove to be the successful tools of peace building. Every day thousands of ordinary people all over the world work diligently for the world to be a better place.”
She works for Medica – the Women’s Therapy Center in Zenica.
Marjana Senjak – Bosnia and Herzegovina
In August 1992, Marjana Senjak established the Center for Psychological Help in Zenica. She initiated cooperation among her professional colleagues and began working at collective refugee centers. She and her colleagues established a SOS hotline for people with war traumas, also for soldiers. In 1993, Marjana co-founded the Medica Zenica Center for treatment of women survivors of rape and people suffering from war trauma.
Over the last few years, the center has been expanded to include survivors of domestic violence and incest.During the wartime in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Marijana Senjak worked twelve hours a day without any vacation or sick leave, while managing the demanding role of a single mother of a young child.
This role was constantly challenged by her professional work. Under the extreme danger and pressure of war, Marijana organized local professionals to provide psychological help to the victims of the war. It was particularly dangerous for her, a member of the Croat minority in Zenica, a town with a Bosnian majority. The physical and economic conditions were very poor with lack of water, electricity and food. The security situation was serious. Her baby daughter was only fifteen months old when the war broke out and basic baby care was insufficient. Several times she was forced to bring her daughter to work with her, despite the fact that the building was being shelled. On an emotional level, her work with war rape survivors was completely new to her and extremely demanding.
In August 1992, Marjana Senjak established the Center for Psychological Help in Zenica. She initiated cooperation among her professional colleagues and began working at collective refugee centers. She and her colleagues established a SOS hotline for people with war traumas, also for soldiers. In 1993, Marjana co-founded the Medica Zenica Center for treatment of women survivors of rape and people suffering from war trauma. Over the last few years, the center has been expanded to include survivors of domestic violence and incest
Her work, especially in the establishment of psychological treatment of refugees and psychotherapy groups, influenced her colleagues in Medica Zenica, and some colleagues in Bosnia and Herzegovina with whom she exchanged experiences during her postgraduate study in trauma psychology in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Through her knowledge and the unique features of her work, her colleagues who are counselors in Medica Gjakova, Kosovo adopted her methods.
Her work was also well received at the International Trauma Study Program at New York University and her colleagues applied parts of her methods in their work in the Safe Horizon Centre for Domestic Violence.
From the beginning of the Medica Zenica Center, Marijana established psychotherapy group work with women survivors of war rape. Together with her colleagues she developed three different approaches in psychotherapy in the group treatment of war rape survivors: The first approach was based on general psychotherapy knowledge, the second was an adaptation of Ellen Bass and Laura Davis’ approach to incest survivors published in their book “The Courage to Heal” and the third approach was based on the adaptation of the therapy process explained in Judith Lewis Herman’s “Trauma and Recovery.”
She became a trainer in psychosocial education for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo. She provided lectures and workshops on issues of trauma, violence, sexual violence (rape, incest), conflict transformation, communication, organizational development, and the mental health of the helpers. Recently, she provided education in anti-trafficking issues for policemen and judges in Sarajevo and Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Since 2003, she has worked with the youth organization, PLUS-Young on issues of HIV/AIDS prevention and peer education in the field of HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexual education.
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