Hasiba Cesko has led a remarkable life. Born in Bosnia, she had her first child when she was just 19-years old. Four years later, she gave birth to her second child in the thick of the Balkan Wars. Her husband was in the army, so she spent her early 20’s carrying her daughter on her back, with her son by her side whilst fleeing from bullets, bombs and soldiers. All while having little to no food to eat. Hasiba managed to keep her family alive and immigrated to Australia in 1996.
She started working at a factory, before she began working as a cleaner. After a few years she bought a cleaning franchise, and then a cafe. She now owns a successful Yiros shop.
However, Hasiba’s life of hardship has left its toll on her body and she deals with chronic pain most days. Despite this, Hasiba is always bright, funny and upbeat and a true inspiration to her children Emir (son) and Elma (daughter).
Her daughter Elma is starting a degree in Psychology this year and her son and nominator Emir, is a small business owner. In his nomination, Emir said: “My mum is my hero and she should be Mother of the decade, but I’ll settle for the year.”When asked about who inspires her, Hasiba says “My children, when we had no food in Bosnia I would make bread from rice flour and Emir would call it chocolate, that’s inspiring.”
As the national winner of Barnardos Australia’s Mother of the Year award for 2013, Hasiba received a $1,000 ALDI lifestyle package, a three night Murray Princess River Cruise from Captain Cook Cruises, an Easyflowers arrangement, a gift from Pandora valued at $600, a $500 Harlequin schoolbags gift voucher, a deluxe Swisse vitamin pack, a Robomaid Vacuum Cleaner, a 24 carat gold rose and a Maybelline gift pack.
The national awards are held by leading child welfare charity Barnardos Australia to honour and celebrate special mothers who inspire, protect, love and nurture their children, in often the most extraordinary circumstances. This is something Barnardos Australia wants for all children and particularly for those who are at risk of, or have been, abused.
Andrew Tindall from official sponsor ALDI, announced Hasiba as the winner in front of distinguished guests at Friday’s gala luncheon at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf in Pyrmont (Sydney). The awards were hosted by Barnardos Ambassadors Noni Hazlehurst and Natarsha Belling. Other guest included Heidi Middleton, Tara Moss, Samantha Harris, Leona Edmiston and Mrs Rosemary O’Farrell .
Professor Kerryn Phelps AM made the keynote speech. The senior speaker was Gabrielle Trainor from Barnardos.
Manisha Amin, Barnardos Director of Fundraising and Marketing said all the Mother of Year finalists for 2013 were ordinary women, doing extraordinary things to show the world that all children matter and should be given the space and opportunity to grow and be loved.
“All children and young people deserve safe and loving homes. Barnardos Australia holds these awards to celebrate mothers who provide a haven for children, often in very difficult circumstances. They are an inspiration to us all,” she said.
The Gala luncheon on Friday also served to launch Barnardos Virtual Foster Care Program raising urgent funds to care for and support thousands of Australian children and young people at risk of or suffering the effects of child abuse and neglect.
Photo credits: http://www.facebook.com/AustralianMotheroftheYear