Story By: Ana Marjanovic, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
This young Serbian woman who grew up being bullied because of her scarred face after a huge birthmark was surgically removed when she was a tot says she has accepted herself and wants to do charity work in Africa.
Marina Arsic, 20, had the birthmark removed when she was 18 months old, but the operation left her with a scarred face and she admits she found it difficult growing up.
At school, the young woman, who is currently studying Turkish at the University of Belgrade in Serbia, said that she was bullied by children who felt intimidated by her unusual look and she was often called a “freak”.
She told Central European News (CEN): “When I was young, what hurt the most was other kids running away from me because they did not want to be my friend, just because of my scar.”
Her mother and sister supported her through the hard times, however Marina said that one event helped her find her voice when she was 14 years old.
After a boy kept throwing her jacket on the floor in class, she raised her voice and found herself able to stand up for herself.
Marina told CEN: “I shouted ‘my jacket will stay there’ and all the other students turned to each other saying ‘was that Marina who yelled?’ After that, I went home and said to myself in the mirror ‘I am beautiful’ and a whole new life opened up for me.”
She added: “Ever since then, I have always reacted differently to negative comments or gestures or I simply do not respond at all.”
Marina told CEN: “It is an indescribable feeling when people stop me on the street and say ‘great work, God bless you, keep going’ or ask me questions about building confidence or dealing with prejudice.”
Marina hopes to continue helping others and the 20-year-old has already started taking part in workshops and seminars as a public speaker, according to reports.
Marina wants to help others find their voice and accept themselves for who they are. She told CEN that after her studies, she wants to move to Africa to do charity work.
In the future, the young woman also hopes to write a book about her experiences.
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