All the Children’s Commissioner’s work is driven by what children told us is important to them
This is the picture I found. It is from Sarejevo airport during the war in Bosnia. Around 1994. You can see in the back some UN armoured personal carriers and I am wearing a 20 kg flak jacket (bullet and shrapnel proof vest). The airport was controlled by the United Nations, but was surrounded by snipers and was actually a bit risky when you walked out onto the airfield. It would have been very cold, but I guess I am smiling because I was about to get a flight out of the city to Italy for a brief break. We were in conflict conditions there, often no electricity and water cuts and the fear of being caught in the crossfire of the war.
I would have returned to university the following academic year to complete my degree. I had not had much support from the local authority since leaving care at 16-but they did give some money toward my university costs. I guess I was optimistic about the future, but had not resolved much of the pain of the past or the fear of where I would turn to if things all went wrong. Somehow I thought it would all be okay in the end-and it was. I can see these mixed emotions in my eyes and face in this photo and the few other photos I have from my younger days.