During the Bosnian Genocide in 1990‘s Maja was living in Mostar, Bosnia and Hercegovina. During that time, 60,000 civilians expelled to one small part of the city in a residential neighborhood. Surrounded by two armies, with no way out they had to figure out how to survive. They had no water, no electricity, no food, no medicine and no outside contact whatsoever. Quickly, they became the most organized group forming a makeshift hospital in a basement of one large building. They created a soup kitchen making sure everyone shared and had something to eat, helping each other like one big 60,000 person family. As Maja says: “There aren’t better friends than those you make in war!”
As though living with a war being fought outside her front door wasn’t challenge enough, Maja’s life changed forever in the summer of1993. A mortar shell fell in her courtyard, critically injuring her and killing five of her friends. Her legs were shattered, her face and arm were peppered with shrapnel. Cared for in a makeshift basement hospital, her left leg was eventually amputated below the knee without benefit of anesthesia. Without proper medication, her other injuries, including the massive injuries to her right leg festered in the mid-summer heat. She lay close to death when she was selected to be one of three children evacuated to Croatia, then Germany and eventually, to the United States.
One year later, as a resident of a small Maryland town, Maja taught herself English and enrolled herself in high school, determined to pick up the remnants of her shattered life. In rapid succession she joined the marching band, put herself through college and became as successful entrepreneur and internationally recognized keynote speaker. In the process, she has also learned to windsurf and to play tennis and golf, despite the obvious challenges these pastimes present to a below the knee amputee.
As a motivational speaker, Maja travels the world telling her story in a simple, compelling way. She is a living testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and the value of determination and tenacity. She has distilled 20 years of her experience into 7 simple building blocks that she shares to Empower her audience. Maja loves helping people, so please feel free to reach out!