In November 2017, Sanja published her story, “Born To Bloom – From Hardship to Happiness”. An Inspirational biography with self help activities for reader’s personal growth. A story of a war refugee who chooses a victor mentality to succeed.
At age 8, Sanja became a child refugee. Sanja and her family sought refuge in various republics within the former Yugoslavia for five years. At age 13, Sanja immigrated to Australia. Sanja did not speak, write or understand English.
“The moment I stepped on Australian soil at the age of thirteen, I knew I belonged there. For the first time since fleeing my country of birth I felt an unexplained energy of belonging, safety, and opportunity. I knew at that moment that the world was my oyster and with my dedication and the Australian sun for energy, I would bloom here. I just instinctively knew it!”
Purchase a copy of “Born To Bloom – From Hardship To Happiness” from any of the below stockists;
New Editions Book Store
41 High Street (cnr Henry Street)
Fremantle, WA 6160
900 Albany Highway
East Victoria Park WA 6101
203 South Terrace
South Fremantle WA 6162
Excerpt from “Born To Bloom – Hardship to Happiness”
- Ken and Barbie
“I certainly was a little seven-year-old girl going eight! My birthday occurred in the best part of the year, August 10th at the heart of Yugoslavian summer. We had lots of fruit in season, local fruit, ice creams, swimming pools, and the glorious sun to enjoy!
My mum made the best banana, strawberry, and kiwi birthday torte, glazed with see-through jelly and whipped cream. It was a thin cake and when sliced it looked like a magical pizza slice only it was sweet.
August 10th, 1991 finally came, and family and friends arrived at our place to celebrate my birthday. I was so happy! The torte was on the table, little and big people that I loved surrounded me at our big oak dining table, and they were singing a birthday song. A happy day!
My cousin and her boyfriend bought me Ken and Barbie dolls as a birthday gift. And my other cousin bought me a Ken and Barbie car. I was over the moon! I played endlessly that day with my birthday gifts… but not for long.
August 18th, 1991, only a week after my amazing birthday, something happened. Something I didn’t understand and I was in it.
My mum packed an overnight bag and took us to our cousins’ place on the periphery of Pakrac. Mum was with my brother and me and at this point I have no recollection of dad being with us. I think he wasn’t there at that time. It was confusing to my eight-year-old self as to what was going on, but one thing I had on my mind was my Ken and Barbie dolls.
They had been left in my toy cupboard, safe and sound in our apartment which was a few kilometres away in the town centre, and I really wanted to play with them. Mum said that she couldn’t go there and get the toys for me. I was very confused, but believed that this strange situation would pass soon and we would go back to our apartment. In fact, sometime later I figured out that we all believed the same thing.
We all thought, including my parents and brother, that this situation would pass and we would eventually go home.
Unfortunately, we didn’t. We never went back. The civil war had begun and I never saw my Ken and Barbie again.”
What people are saying…
“Born to Bloom is one of those books that you just can’t put down once you start reading it! In the first part, Sanja bravely shares her personal journey. After leaving a wartorn country and starting her life from scratch in Australia, Sanja tells us how she worked through many challenges to get to where she is today.
The second part of the book goes through 8 different lessons that help you to reflect on your own life, with helpful tips and exercises to guide you along the way.
An inspiring read, this book will motivate you to believe in yourself and strive towards living your fullest life.
I highly recommend this book and thank you, Sanja, for sharing your journey and experience. “
“I recently finished “Born to Bloom” by Sanja. The book takes you on a journey with a little girl from her childhood home in Croatia through ravages of war to her new home in Australia. It would be an understatement to call this writing a book about survival. Sanja manages to share her story, survive, thrive and channel her experiences to a greater good. Sanja carries a light with her through her writing and her life that she shares with anyone she meets. Read it, share it and live it.”
“Just read “Born to Bloom “ an amazing inspirational read from tears to laughter to achievement. Amazing story of hardship to happiness when you read this story you to can accomplish anything in your life and like Sanja says “It’s your birthright to Bloom” so true are these words ….always believe you can.”