Sixty years- old Fatima Celigija, one of a dozen women that drive taxi in Sarajevo, is retiring by the end of this year after 30 years of taxi driving.
Although she was driving for 30 years, Celigija says that she was successful in management and harmonization all of her obligations that life imposed to her. Family, home and household duties have never suffered because of her profession.
Today, she takes care about her 91- year- old mother, has two daughters and four granddaughters, and after her retirement, her daughter will continue the tradition.
In an interview for FENA Agency, Celigija emphasizes that she is retiring happy and satisfied, and that for 30 years of her career had only one small car accident on the bridge Drvenija.
“For 30 years, I changed six cars, millions of kilometers are behind me, because I was driving remote tours as well, I drove to Istanbul, Germany, Italy“, says Celigija.
Recalling the beginning of her taxi driver career, back in 1984, states that at that time in Sarajevo were 17 women that were taxi drivers.
“My husband began to work as a taxi driver two years before me, in 1982. I was always attracted to cars and “the smell of petrol“ so I decided to pass the state exam and to start with the job“, recalls Celigija, adding that, when she started working, already had two daughters, one was the 3rd grade and other 1st grade in the primary school.
“In that period in Sarajevo, even the first female police officers started to work, and so the first female taxi drivers. I was 5th or 6th to start this job and in that period were 17 of us“ she said.
She adds that she is on the taxi stand beside the National Theatre for 30 years, and pints out that she feels pride when someone says “ah that nice lady“ ,because after all, “it is a job where you have to show your personality, and in other part your power, power of a women“.
In pre- war period, emphasizes, she worked for five- six hours and the rest of her time adjusted to family and children.
She points out that in 30 years of working had one small “gaffe“ with a drunk girl on New year, and recently “bad comment“ from a women that entered to her vehicle.
She underlines that it is important to be professional and polite in this job, “because it is most important and do not make customers frustrated“.
She tells all the women who want to be in this job to dare and that the fact that she switches this job to her daughter is sufficient example that this is good job.
“My daughter is 36 years old and she will take my job over. After all it is a family business. There were seven of us from our family who were taxi drivers. My husband was taxi driver, but last year he got sick and died. I am retiring and my daughter will continue the tradition and that should be family business. My brother and uncle were also taxi drivers“, she said.
President of the Association of Sarajevo taxi, Enver Suljagic, said for FENA Agency that there are about ten female taxi drivers in this association.
“In recent times it is a tradition that they transfer the job to themselves from their fathers, there were some colleagues whose husbands died and now they are doing that job. On Airport stand we have a colleague who has five children, her husband died and she is a single mother“ said Suljagic, adding that it is Celigija who is the oldest one, and the youngest colleagues are about 22- 30 years old.