Katarina Pejović with her mother Prodana and mother-in-law Zorica, Belgrade, November 2011

Katarina Pejović is an activist at “Bibija”, a Roma organisation working in the field of integration and emancipation of Roma women. With her husband and mother-in-law she lives in Rakovica Village, on the outskirts of Belgrade, the same part of town where her mother Prodana lives with the family of Katarina’s brother.

“People of my generation and those born before 1980 are all active in the projects of integrating Roma people, either in non-governmental organisations or individually, or take part in state institutions, whereas those younger ones are not, they prefer to stay away from that. In fact, it’s not that they are staying away, it’s that they have a different view of what we are doing. They’d like to get involved, to help, but when they are supposed to appear in public, to say that they are Roma, then it becomes a bit more difficult. That’s because they have experienced prejudice, they have felt it on their own skin, and for that reason now they don’t want to say they are Roma. I don’t have that problem, because I have never experienced the kind of prejudice they have. They have to live with that from the first grade right up to the end of secondary school.”

Prodana Brkić with her children, Belgrade, 1976

Prodana and Ratko Brkić, wedding photograph, Ub, 1970

Prodana and Ratko were born in the same village, Kalenić, near Ub. They both finished primary school. Before they started having children, they spent a few years working in Salzburg, Austria. On their return to Yugoslavia, they settled in Belgrade where Ratko in 1973 got a job at “Gradska čistoća”. Prodana was never employed but took care of the house and children and only occasionally worked selling things. Ratko died in 2010.

Katarina outside her family house in Rakovica Village, 1986