On the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, the organization for supporting women with disabilities, IZ KRUGA VOJVODINA issued a publication named Memories of Childhood: Growing up of Women with Disabilities. The publication consists of twenty-one stories by women with disabilities about their childhood, evoking a girl within themselves. Women whose stories are depicted in the booklet not only accepted the invitation to dive into their reminiscences and share some of them with the world but spread the idea selflessly and called for other women to join in telling the stories. Collected experiences are the authentic voices of women with disabilities growing up in the last three decades of the previous century and at the turn of the century.
Memoirs of women with disabilities diversify an idealized picture of childhood by answering a string of questions that structure their stories: How did they imagine their present selves in childhood? What did they dream about, dread? What hurt the most then, and what cheered them up the easiest? What did they need and didn’t have? What they had too much and didn’t need? How would they look if they grew up in a different time, another place? How often do they recognize that girl in themselves nowadays? What is her facial expression? How do they nurture her? Which of her traits and talents does she treasure? What would present they say to themselves as girls?
These are the stories about wonderful Alices at the doorstep of an ordinary country, ordinary society, about the ordinariness one strives for as the highest goal of human existence. They carry their burden, fight their battles and head back to common thought – if only I could have been a girl longer because the awareness of being different and non-acceptance is a difficult path they must walk alone.From Ana Kotur-Erkić’s review
The authors, grown-up women, are simultaneously girls they used to be, double female protagonists at at least two points in time; therefore, stories are also arcs with complex, changing experiences of self and the world (…) The valuable duality of stories naturally joins dimensions of universality and particularity, the specifics of growing up with disabilities, and the universalities that come from the general features of growing up and the given area. There we find an additional power of this collection – the authors present, from their depths, the picture devoid of stereotypes (sometimes to such an extent that if you didn’t know it was a girl with a disability, you wouldn’t even notice it). It is an image of a girl with dreams and memories of girls that play with Barbie dolls and swords.From Galina Maksimovic review
By reading the texts of women with different experiences of disability, we follow their voices as they compose their own life story that flows as a stream of emotions, memories, love, and numerous hardships and shapes the events of the past in front of us, so that the feelings of those who speak are almost always connected to others, without whom that childhood and youth would not have been possible.From Svenka Savic’s review