Inspiration behind Jasmina Awards

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The Jasmina Awards is a platform that encourages elderly people who are above the age of 60 to express themselves and let their stories be known to others in the generations after them. It aims to help let their experiences and their voices resonate in society and provide the elderly with a sense of relevance after they have settled down and retired. At the same time, active aging is promoted as it also aids in keeping those in their golden years active through the writing of stories.

Like every great cause and idea, there is always a source of inspiration that would serve as the catalyst for it to take shape. The Jasmina Awards is helmed by Dr Jasmina Kuka and is inspired by a similar platform that was founded by her in Serbia called the Dragan Awards.

The Dragan Awards was established in the memory of Dr Jasmina’s father who had inspired her throughout her life. Through how her father lived his life before and after retirement, she was able to see that her father and the people around him had benefitted from the lifestyle of active aging. She recalls that her father began writing a book after his retirement and it was during this process she realised that her father felt more energised. Her father would call over friends and family members while he was writing and have a great time together.

“My father wrote a book after he retired and it was the book about our family and our family tree and during that process, he was very energised. He gathered group of friends and family members who were remembering and having a great time while writing that book”, she said. This lit a fire within Dr Jasmina in wanting to do more to help other elderly people lead a healthier life by being active in their senior years.

“After my father passed away I published a book which I dedicated to him, in memory of him. But then I realised that it is my intimate wish to dedicate something to my father, I wanted to do more for those who are elderly. So the proceeding of that book went into the establishment of the Dragan Award because I wanted to promote active aging and all the benefits that come to the life of the elderly by being active in their senior years”, said Dr Jasmina.

Within 5 years of conducting the Dragan Awards, feedback from the participants show that the elderly who have submitted their stories are grateful and happy to just have a platform such as the Dragan Awards to let their stories be heard. The participants of the Awards are happy for the opportunity to get the acknowledgement not only by their friends and family, but also a wider scope of audience.

“The [Dragan] Awards, actually provided in Serbia, provided a platform to the elderly to voice out and to feel acknowledged. There are different prizes in Serbia for award winners such as 3 days in the most beautiful spa in Serbia, books, publications. But when you ask them, the winners and those who participate what is the biggest benefit and gift that they got from Dragan Awards, they would say publication”, said Dr Jasmina.

It is these values that the Jasmina Awards hope to provide for the elderly in Malaysia. The elderly of Malaysia should be given a platform for them to be heard and to be honoured. Not only would they receive the various health benefits that come with the writing process, such as maintaining good memory and refreshing the cognitive skills of the elderly, this platform gives them the recognition they deserve for all they have done for us and our society.

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