Congratulations to our VIC finalist - Snjezana (Sue) Brcic (ber-chitch), 50.
Nominated by her daughter, Ines Brcic.
Snjezana (Sue) Brcic and her family arrived in Australia in 1999 as migrants, having fled their homeland of Bosnia as a result of the Balkan War, having lived as refugees in Germany sharing one room for eight years, and having lost everything except each other.
Despite all of the adversity Snjezana faced in her life “her heart was always pure,” says her proud daughter and nominator, Ines Brcic, 28. “We had nothing,” recalls Ines. “We were lucky to get food vouchers and old toys from The Salvation Army to put under the Christmas tree. But I never felt a thing. I was happy, because mum was always happy. She has the type of hands that, when they hold yours, you feel her warmth and love radiate through you.”
In order to learn English, Snjezana started volunteering at The Australian Red Cross, which enabled her to find work in a café to earn the pocket money she wanted to give to her children. More recently, she found the courage to go back to school to become a personal carer in aged care, while helping Ines through Law school and encouraging her younger daughter to study to become a kindergarten teacher. She also volunteers in the Croatian community.
When Ines was diagnosed with chronic anxiety and depression, Snjezana’s love and positivity didn’t waver. “I was not okay,” says Ines. “My mum found a way to battle my demons with me and save me from myself. She never did let go of my hand.”
Ines and her sister Ivana are grateful for their mother’s love and for the values and attitude she has instilled in them. “Mama there is no woman like you in this world. You are something else,” Ines says. “You taught us that we should be good and do good, even if it’s not always returned. You taught us to be strong, independent women, but proved that we are never alone. You taught us the value of hard work, commitment and loyalty. You taught us that there is more need for love in the world than anything else and we want to thank you for ALWAYS putting everything and everyone above you and your needs. You didn’t have to. We love you!”