I met Katarina as a thirteen-year-old girl who came up to me during a turbulent chapter in her life and was, despite her youth, determined to take a step forward; she was just not quite sure how to do it yet. That was when she decided to open a new page in the story of her life. She stuck to it despite numerous difficulties. Being next to her, I was starting to realize how alone a child in distress can be in this area. She was in need of some kind of "reinforcement" for her voice to be heard up to the point when she had been placed into foster care. It confirmed my belief that given the opportunity a child is very much able to voice his/her opinion and actively participate in its realization. Our collaboration led to the decision that an advocacy group for children should be established. Katarina actively took part in the process of building the foundations for child advocacy. She proved to be equal to other participants in the National Assembly in 2006 with her contribution entitled "I turned a new page in the story of my life because my advocate believed in me”. Her contribution was included in the conference proceeding and was later also added to the educational materials for advocates.
More and more chapters in the book of her life followed, and each new chapter continued to surprise me with the determination and energy with which she was fighting for her goals. Her individual problems didn’t become an obstacle because overcoming them contributed to her personal growth. She responded to my comment that she is becoming a little pearl (A tale of two shells, where only the one, despite suffering, doesn’t eject the stone and it becomes a pearl) with dignity. Her nobility is becoming most evident in her care for others, especially adopted children. Once she realized that good intentions won’t suffice in helping them, she founded a Humanitarian club for adoptees AS – Adoptee's Society and organized the first charity concert on this topic. She also wrote an article on the issues of searching for biological parents, posted on the portal, which last year invited her to participate as "Ringaraja’s expert" in the field of adoption. In April, she, as a complement to all this, opened an office for assistance in gathering documentation for international adoptions. It aims to help prospective adoptive parents with all the bureaucratic work that normally lies only on their shoulders.
In conclusion, I can only say how proud I am to know this pearl and look forward to following the next chapters of her life, for which I hope will someday turn into a book that could offer comfort to many children in need.
Martina Jenkole, 
Project manager for project Advocate – a child's voice,
Human Rights Ombudswoman of the Republic of Slovenia

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