Belonging - still
39 minutes
Judith Beuth & Jasmin Brutus
Bosnia and Herzegovina

“This is Zejd – he’s a great student, only he can’t hear.” In order for Zejd to be able to go to school like the other children, and in order for him to not merely have this right in theory, on paper, his teacher Sanela and his parents get together with his classmates to make sure that the lessons are inclusive. In so doing not only Zejd and his fellow students make progress – everyone involved learns a great deal.

In a still war-torn Sarajevo, the collective efforts of a schoolteacher & parents to create a learning environment for a deaf boy, without government aid, becomes a success story that gives new life to the inclusionary education debate worldwide.

In 2016, Sanela Ljumanovic, a teacher in a typical Sarajevo grade school was approached by the mother of six-year-old Zejd Coralic with a question: would Sanela be willing to allow Zejd, who is deaf, to be included in the class. Though the Bosnian government has adopted laws around integrating special-needs children into schools, they have done little in the way of providing the resources and basic conditions needed to put them into practice. In spite of that, Sanela agreed without hesitation. Fortunately for Zejd, the other parents - primarily the mothers - and the teacher were very sensitive to his problem, and worked together to find a solution. They self-financed the hiring of a sign-language-teacher who taught not only Zejd, but the entire class as well.