The key components for a successful life are will, effort, desire, faith in oneself and in God. It’s your turn to determine the direction of movement. Don’t worry if you’re fooling around. Don’t worry if you don’t realize you’re a fool, says Mario, a famous motivational speaker with disabilities
Mario Bebek was born on October 28, 1991 in Zagreb with the rare disease Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. In translation, it is a limitation in movements.
This disease includes the upper and lower extremities. In rare cases, only the upper extremities, so Mario only has problems with his arms. He was diagnosed with gastroschisis at birth and complications arise. The doctor’s prognosis was that he would not survive, so he was baptized the next day. He spent three months in the incubator. At the age of three, he went to America for an examination and received a recommendation for physical therapy and surgery.
– Upon my return, my parents provided me with physical therapy, which I received five times a week. I started kindergarten and there I adapted well with the other children, and I had exercises for my hands. That helped me a lot and I felt accepted. In addition to the physical therapy at home, mom exercised with me several times every day. I was constantly going for examinations and treatment – says Mario about the first years of his life.
The first encounter with insults made Mario stronger.
– I started elementary school according to the regular program, although my parents worked hard for me to be enrolled according to the regular program. It was there that I encountered insults for the first time, but later I got used to the fact that I am ‘different’ and that there will always be that. During elementary school, I started swimming in a competitive program. It was a club for disabled people only. I participated in numerous competitions. It helped me a lot to become independent and develop.
It was another additional therapy for me. In fact since then I have been completely busy with commitments. School in the morning, physical therapy, swimming, exercising again with mom. I had no free time for myself. My parents and brother were a great support for me to get through it all. I am very grateful to them for that. In the first place, to the parents who fought for their child. My every success is theirs, and so is my failure. Pain and struggle all the time, but will, effort, desire, faith in yourself and in God together with a positive attitude give you a goal. That’s my recipe for survival.
I’m trying to turn a minus into a plus. Really anything is possible when you want. I must not forget my friends who were always there for me and helped me when I needed it – says Mario, who today gives motivational lectures outside Croatia.
– In high school, it was much easier in terms of accepting myself and being quite understanding of my uniqueness. I graduated as a sanitary technician and, with the help of professors and colleagues, overcame the obstacles in the laboratory. After that, I entered the Health Polytechnic to become a sanitary engineer, I completed psychological and pedagogical education as a lecturer at the Teacher Training College, and I am currently in the Specialist Study for a graduate sanitary engineer.
I am very satisfied with the attitude of my colleagues and professors towards me – says Bebek, who once listened to comments like: ‘God punished you for having such hands’, ‘how are you not ashamed to walk with such hands’, ‘how is your mother not ashamed for giving birth to you like that?’
– I also did an internship at the Public Health Training Institute of Dr. Andrija Štampar and I did great. I would like to work on the same in the future. My desire is to work on health promotion and to deal with bioethics. I also want to make people aware of the principle of subsidiarity. The principle of subsidiarity is primarily a rule for determining jurisdiction in the realization of common property.
What an individual can do on his own, society must not take from him, or what a smaller community can do, a larger society must not deny it. Subsidiarity or assistance. Society must provide support. An individual should strive to the maximum within the limits of his capabilities. The new definition of Bioethics tells us that it is love for life. I am currently engaged in motivational lectures.
I sensitize the public about the life of people with disabilities. I tell my life story and try to motivate people, so that they don’t think that their problem is the most difficult and that they don’t underestimate their abilities. Life is a puzzle that a person puts together for years – says Mario.
Finally, Mario wrote a few motivational lines to our readers:
– The key components for a successful life are will, effort, desire, faith in oneself and in God. It seems that there is one direction, one path, one direction, one path, one diagonal, but there is only one life with countless directions, paths, directions, paths. It’s your turn to determine the direction of movement.
Don’t worry if you’re fooling around. Worry if you don’t realize you’re a fool. Even the best make mistakes. Follow your heart, but check yourself a hundred times when you intend to do something. Be wise and don’t run in front of the bully. It could cost you. Just remember, life is too short to be wandering all the time.
Wake up from your sleep, because you will sleep when you die. Now is the time to open your eyes and choose the path. Choose your path carefully. I always have a solution for everything. When they touch me and talk to me, I just turn my head and smile and move on to new victories. Where my heart desires.
There will always be obstacles, some are easier, some are more difficult, but it is important that you overcome them. If there is a problem, there is a solution. And when there are a lot of obstacles on your way, it means that you are worth it and that’s the only way to get stronger. Later, when you get stronger, just a smile on your face will be enough to win some things.
Remember, after the rain the sun always comes, but you have to work hard for that sun to be able to enjoy it. Even the sun should be earned. Believe me, you will thank yourself later. Life is made up of both good and bad things, and the bad things warn us that we have gone astray. Life is a fight with windmills, life is a labyrinth from which only the persistent win.
Every problem is a problem, we think we can’t get rid of it. If we think like that, then we will never find a solution. We must first admit to ourselves that I have such and such a problem and we must find a solution. We must know that there is always a bigger problem. If there were no problems, nothing would work. In a way, these problems are our guideposts and life guidelines. Let’s stay on the ball and not go astray.
There’s nothing wrong with being annoyed, except that it can be worse for you. God gave us a brain to think, so we should think about that problem and try to find a solution. Life is a labyrinth with many dead ends, we need to find a way out. Those dead ends are also problems. Each of us wanders into the dead end of life, but we should not give up immediately, but we should find an exit to the main road and choose the right path! Be the master of your will, and the servant of your conscience! There is always a way out.
While writing the book of your life…. don’t let someone else hold your pencil. No encounter with any person is accidental. Every person has a message that they carry. That message is either his appearance, his behavior… When something bothers you, take the freedom and peace to think about everything, gather your strength and move on. Because life is like a circle. Everything goes in a circle, but you must not fall out of that circle. The only solution for that is strong faith – says Bebek.
MY STORY Viktor Jozić, president of the Association of persons with disabilities Sinergija Samobor
I can say without a doubt that in the life of a disabled person there is a lot of pain, tears, sleepless nights, problems with bureaucracy, problems with stigmas, personal inner turmoil and despair, but there is no use in self-pity, turn to life with a purpose, says Jozić
Viktor Jozić has been the president of the Association of Persons with Disabilities Sinergija Samobor since 2018. His candidacy was prompted by the social responsibility he feels as an individual towards the marginalized and most vulnerable groups of society, which are children with developmental disabilities and people with all degrees and types of disabilities. As he himself is a disabled person, as well as his son and his brother, he is familiar with all the obstacles and struggles that disabled people have to overcome during their lives.
– I am of the opinion that it is the individual’s social responsibility that is an important factor in the development and progress to which every individual has the right, and I would say a human task and a kind of obligation, to weave personal values, experiences and examples of good practice into the local community, and thus guide the solution of society’s problems in as a whole, initially locally, then regionally and nationally.
In modern society, which is characterized by technological changes and where political and economic influence is great, great demands are placed on the social community, as well as on the subjects in which they operate. Marginalized groups in the territory of the Republic of Croatia can hardly get out of the trap of social exclusion and marginalization without knowledge and additional help. My guiding thought as president of the association is primarily based on the aspiration to make the local community aware of the problems of people with disabilities, the difficulties they face every day, to sensitize the environment and achieve integration and inclusive growth and development of children with disabilities and adults with disabilities – Viktor told us.
This association has about 1400 members, of which about 250 are active. The association of persons with disabilities Sinergija Samobor implements numerous projects and programs, of which the president highlighted the basic projects financed by the local community, specifically the Institutional Support of the City of Samobor as well as the Institutional Support of the City Sveta Nedelja that ensure financial stability – the functioning of the Professional Service of the association.
– I would like to point out the ‘Van for all’ program financed by the City of Samobor, this program in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, associations with the support of the City of Samobor and competent institutions, enables adapted van transport to hospitals for disabled and immobile people with disabilities. rehabilitation institutions, to sports and cultural events and to other necessary institutions.
Two projects financed by the European Social Fund are implemented in the association. The project ‘Development of personal assistance services for people with disabilities’ has been implemented in the association since 2015, and includes six users of the personal assistance service and employs six personal assistants.
The general goal of the project is to strengthen the social inclusion of people with disabilities through the further development and improvement of the quality of personal assistance services, while the specific goal is to increase social inclusion and improve the quality of life of people with the most severe type and degree of disability, people with intellectual disabilities and mental impairments through the provision of personal assistance services assistance.
By implementing the personal assistance service, we try to prevent the institutionalization and social exclusion of people with disabilities and people with intellectual disabilities and mental impairments, and we try to reconcile the business and family life of the aforementioned groups for a more independent life and greater involvement in the community. By spending quality time, the users of the personal assistance service feel more satisfied, happier and feel they belong to the community on an equal basis.
The second project, financed by the European Social Fund, is called ‘Equality in the community with a sighted companion’, and will be implemented from 2021. Namely, the independent movement of blind and partially sighted people in unknown and inaccessible spaces requires the help of a sighted companion. The goal of the project is to strengthen social inclusion and meet the needs of blind people. The target groups included in the project activities are adult blind and highly visually impaired people from the area of Zagreb County.
Through a three-year program of associations that provide personal assistance services for people with disabilities in the Republic of Croatia for the period 2019-2021 financed by the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, the user of personal assistance improves the quality of his life with the help of a personal assistant. Through the program, users are provided with the basic conditions for an independent life for four or eight hours a day, five days a week. 11 personal assistants are employed who, through the program, help users of personal assistance to become more and more active in their community, some are more active in sports, go out to social events, have the ability to organize their own time and the obligations they want to fulfill, without the help of their loved ones, and with the help of a personal assistant.
Zagreb County provides funds for two programs. The program ‘Creativity to prevent the alienation of persons with disabilities’ contributes to the social inclusion and integration of children with developmental disabilities and persons with disabilities through creative workshops led by a member of the association, Vesna Lisec, who is also a person with disability. The program represents an educational process of acquiring new skills that help the integration and mutual social interaction of people with disabilities.
The program ‘Creativity to prevent the alienation of persons with disabilities’ improves interpersonal relations within the members of the association and reduces the risks of their alienation. In a casual atmosphere together with the participants, respecting their opinion and freedom of choice, motifs and topics of work are chosen that encourage visual curiosity. Through the implementation of the work program, various artistic and creative techniques are gradually applied.
The main goal of the program is to strengthen self-confidence, awaken and develop the ability to create and be creative through direct experience and the world around you. Developing a positive attitude about oneself and forming personal beliefs in the field of artistic reality.
Awareness of art elements and construction and creation of art works in all elements in a manner acceptable to children with developmental disabilities and people with different types and degrees of disabilities. The second program is called ‘Sustainability as a social challenge for people with disabilities’ under the leadership of association member Danko Klasan, it is intended for people with disabilities and children with developmental disabilities with the areas of the cities of Samobor, Sveta Nedelja, Stupnik and Žumberak municipalities. The project is based on the restoration of old furniture for the purpose of sustainability and transformation from old to new.
By recycling old furniture, the members of the Association of Persons with Disabilities Sinergija Samobor directly address citizens and the public, raising awareness of the need to recycle and reuse waste. The goal of the project is to empower the aforementioned groups and their integration into society and coexistence in the local community and beyond, as well as psychological support for parents and guardians – explained Jozić.
For Jozić, the challenges in his work represent motivation and encourage a fighting spirit for progress, both for him as president and for the professional services of the association. As the biggest challenges, he certainly points out the fact that the association is often the ‘first line of the front’.
– Users often express their dissatisfaction with the problems of a health, administrative and financial nature that they encounter in everyday life, precisely in the premises of the association, but this certainly also shows how here our members feel like a family in front of which you can ‘shake it off’ when you are having a hard time.
I believe that the biggest problem and challenges faced by people with disabilities in Zagreb County are certainly in the field of infrastructure and transport (not) adapted to people with disabilities. The association has been struggling with this issue for a long time, so meetings were held on several occasions and appeals were made to solve this problem both at the local and regional level.
In July 2021, together with the representatives of the City of Samobor and the director of the company Integrirani promet zagrebačkog područja d.o.o., a meeting was held related to the establishment of an integrated transport model in the wider Zagreb area with the aim of gathering experiences and the best solutions in the application of integrated passenger transport with special reference to people with disabled and infrastructure adapted to them.
Furthermore, I believe that in the city area there is not a sufficient number of infrastructural facilities adapted to the care of adults with disabilities, and there is a deficit of specialized personnel who would provide psychosocial support to children with developmental difficulties and persons with disabilities, as well as persons who experience a crisis when the disability occurs. Unfortunately, the problem that cannot be ignored is the passivity of the members – said the president of Sinergija.
MY STORY Deni Černi
My message to other people with disabilities would be to never give up no matter how hard it is and to try to find something that will make them happy and fulfill their life, says Deni
Deni Černi was born on May 3, 1993 in Virovitica, and he is a computer technician by profession.
– At the age of six, I fell ill with dystonia, and I spent a large part of my childhood in hospitals for various examinations – Deni tells us.
It was not easy to accept a lifelong disability.
– In the beginning, it was really difficult to deal with disability and the fact that you are ‘different’, but luckily, I had my parents behind me, who explained to me very well that being a disabled person is nothing unusual and that in some situations it will be more difficult for me than some people of my age, but to never give up – says Černi.
– During my primary and secondary education, I had problems with the stares of ‘curious’ people who don’t know me, but I quickly got used to it since I have a good attitude and I approach every person in a friendly way – continues Deni.
His love for athletics was born in his teenage years.
– At the age of 14, I received an invitation from Darko Kralj to ask if I would like to try training in athletics, and a desire arose in me and I immediately agreed. After the first practice, I liked the shot put and wanted to continue. As I trained, more and more competitions came, and thus additional motivation to be better and achieve more – he tells us, and today he really has a lot of medals, competitions and awards behind him.
World Junior Championships:
– 2009 Nottwil, Switzerland:
1st place, ball F54 6.63 meters
1st place, discus F54 20.70 meters
2nd place, javelin F54 13.65 meters
– 2010 Olomouc, Czech Republic:
1st place, javelin F54 15.15 meters
1st place discus F54 23.75 meters (world junior discus record in the F-54 category)
2nd place, ball F54 7.05 meters
European Junior Championship
– 2011 Brno, Czech Republic – gold and two silver medals F54: 1st place discus, 2nd places shot put and javelin
IWAS World Games:
– 2009 Bangalore, India – 5th place in discus throw F54
– 2011 Sarjah-Dubai, UAE – bronze medal in discus throw F54, 23.95 meters
– 2017 Lisbon, Portugal gold medal in shot put F33, 8.88 meters, bronze medal in discus throw F33, 20.50 meters
W.P.A. European championship:
– 2012 in Stadskanaal, Netherlands – 6th place in discus throw F54, 19.2 meters
– 2018 in Berlin, Germany – silver medal in shot put F33, 10.10 meters
– 2021 in Bydgoszcz, Poland – bronze medal in shot put F33, 10.42 meters
W.P.A. World Championship:
– 2013 – Lyon, France – 11th place in discus throw F54
– 2017 – London, UK – 7th place in shot put F33, 8.87 meters
– 2019 – Dubai, UAE – 5th place in shot put F33, 10.41 meters
– 2021 – Tokyo, Japan – bronze medal in shot put (11.25 meters, personal record)
Recognitions and awards
2009 – Charter of the City of Grubišno Polje, public recognition of the City of Grubišno Polje
2010 – Plaque on November 4, 1991, public recognition of the City of Grubišno Polje
2011 – Tihomir Trnski plaque, public recognition of the Bjelovar-Bilogora County
2009 and 2010 – Golden plaque of the Sports Association of Bjelovar-Bilogora County for the best athlete with a disability in the junior competition
2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 – Golden plaque of the Sports Association of Bjelovar-Bilogora County for the best athlete with a disability in the senior competition
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