Welcome to the series #EVERYDAYHEROES in which we introduce exceptional members of our network. Through pop culture, we discovered that heroes fly, have superpowers, come from another planet, and wear capes and costumes, but there are other, real heroes. Heroes we are surrounded by every day, who raise their voices in times of injustice and fight for the rights of all of us. Who look the same as us, who express their superpower by fighting every day for a better and democratic society. Everyday heroes, that we have to talk about. Follow us on our Instagram to catch the next interview among the first ones.
Another Everyday Hero is Nikola Kandić from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Nikola, and I am a youth worker, jurist, and storyteller. I am based in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I have dedicated my career to serving and empowering young people throughout the Western Balkan region. As a youth worker, I have had the opportunity to work with young people from diverse backgrounds, providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed in life. My work includes everything from mentoring and coaching to facilitating workshops and organizing events. I believe that every young person deserves a fair chance to achieve their full potential, and I am committed to making that a reality through my work. In addition to my professional pursuits, I also enjoy spending my free time exploring the outdoors, reading, and dancing. I believe that it is important to have a healthy work-life balance, and I strive to make time for the activities that bring me joy and fulfillment.
Many people see me as a youth leader and an inspiration, and while I am humbled by their praise, I believe that my success is rooted in the small victories that I achieve every day. Whether it is helping young person discover their passion or advocating for the rights of marginalized communities, I am constantly working towards creating positive change in the world. Currently, I am involved in a variety of projects across different fields, including policy research, social innovations, dealing with the past, and of course, youth work. Despite my busy schedule, I still find time to give back to my community through volunteering. One of my most fulfilling experiences has been volunteering as a mentor in the “Older brother Older sister” program, where I have had the privilege of being a positive role model and guide for a 14-year-old boy.
What do you consider your biggest success?
Reflecting on my career so far, I believe that my biggest success is not just about a single event or accomplishment, but rather the network of people I have built and the small victories I have achieved in the challenging and complex system of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have spent the past decade working in the field of youth work, and during that time, I have established a reputation as a youth leader and an inspiration to many young people in my country and region. I am humbled and grateful that people see me as a role model and turn to me for guidance and support. I understand the responsibility that comes with this role and I take it very seriously.
My success lies in the relationships I have built with young people, civil society organizations, and government officials. Through my work, I have connected with many individuals and groups who share my passion for youth empowerment, social justice, and community development. I have learned that creating positive change requires collaboration, persistence, and a willingness to listen to different perspectives. I am proud to be a voice for people who may not have the opportunity or the platform to be heard. I use my position to advocate for young people, women, and the LGBT community, and to challenge the status quo when it comes to issues of social justice and human rights. I believe that every individual deserves equal rights and opportunities, regardless of their background, and I will continue to fight for those who are marginalized or oppressed.
What does the word DEMOCRACY mean to you?
Democracy is a term that has been around for centuries and has evolved in its meaning and importance over time. To me, democracy is much more than just a political system; it represents a set of values and principles that are essential for a just and equitable society. Democracy is not just about casting a vote in elections every few years; it is about active participation in the political process and holding those in power accountable. It is about the ability to express dissenting opinions without fear of retribution, and about creating space for diverse perspectives and experiences.
At the heart of democracy is the belief that every individual has inherent value and dignity, and that their voices deserve to be heard. It is about creating a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background, beliefs, or identity. As someone who believes in the principles of democracy, I strive to live these values in my daily life. I believe that every individual has a responsibility to engage in the political process, to educate themselves on the issues, and to speak out against injustice. I believe that it is important to listen to diverse perspectives and to be open to changing our views based on new information. Ultimately, democracy starts with us as individuals, and it is up to each of us to do our part to create a more just and equitable society.
Who do you consider your Everyday Hero and why?
The first person that comes to mind is my mother. Growing up, I witnessed her resilience and determination in the face of various challenges, including war, poverty, and discrimination. Despite these obstacles, she never lost her kind heart and compassionate spirit. Her unwavering commitment to helping others and standing up for what is right has left a profound impact on my life. My mother’s strength and perseverance have been a constant source of inspiration for me. I am grateful for the many lessons she has taught me over the years, including the importance of empathy, the power of perseverance, and the value of community.
Growing up in a deeply conservative community, my mother and father provided me with an environment that allowed me to be free and open-minded. They taught me to respect others, regardless of their background or beliefs, and to always stand up for what is right. In a society where everyday heroes are often overlooked or undervalued, I believe it is important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of those who go out of their way to help others and to make the world a better place. My mother is just one example of the many everyday heroes who inspire me to be a better person and to strive for a more just and equitable society.
What does the concept of Everyday Hero mean to you?
The concept of the Everyday Hero is one that is often overlooked in our society, where we tend to focus on celebrities, politicians, and other public figures as models of success and inspiration. However, I believe that the real heroes of our world are the everyday people who work tirelessly to make a positive difference in their communities and in the lives of others. These individuals may not receive the same level of recognition as those in the public eye, but their contributions are no less valuable or important. For me, an Everyday Hero is someone who goes out of their way to help others, whether it’s through volunteering, advocacy work, or simply being a supportive friend or family member. I would not consider myself an Everyday Hero. I am simply doing what I believe is right, and I am inspired by the countless individuals I have met throughout my career who are working just as hard to create a better world for themselves and for future generations.
Why did you become a member of EDYN?
Becoming a member of the European Democracy Youth Network (EDYN) was a natural step for me, given my passion for working with young people and creating positive change in the world. When I first learned about EDYN, I was immediately drawn to its vision of empowering young people to become active citizens and leaders in their communities. I saw EDYN as an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals from across Europe and to collaborate on projects that could make a real difference in our communities.
Today, I am proud to be an ambassador and Leadership Council member for EDYN in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Looking ahead, I believe that EDYN has the potential to become a powerful force for good in Europe. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds and cultures, EDYN can help to foster greater understanding, empathy, and cooperation across Europe and beyond. I am excited to see how the network will grow and evolve in the years to come, and I am honored to be part of this inspiring community. Who knows, maybe one day I will be able to look back and say that my involvement with EDYN was one of the biggest successes of my life.