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SIAE Awards 2001
Oton Župančič Library Ljubljana

SIAE awards for learning and knowledge promotion 2000

Awards to individuals for outstanding achievements in lifelong learning 

Marino Kačič from Ljubljana


How to win when everything has gone wrong

Twelve years ago, Marino Kačič's life was turned upside down. Previously he had run his own business dealing with heavy construction machinery. An accident occurred in which he had a close call with death. He now had to come to terms with life as a motor impaired and blind person who had to relearn the simplest chores: how to eat, walk, orient himself in a room, and learn to read and write in Braille.

The near-death experience shattered Marino's most fundamental values and his view of the world. He realised how much of his life had no real meaning at all. "There was a crack gaping open in my soul. It caused such terrible distress that I kept suppressing the experience", says Marino. He brings to mind the Russian writer Tolstoy, whose encounter with the Void led to him to a religious conversion in order to save his soul. While this is not exactly the path Marino has taken, he also refused to yield to cynicism or depression. He was fortunate enough to be driven on in search of inner peace and the meaning of life. He took up psychology, but it failed to supply him with any answers, and so he continued with yoga. He become a Reiki master and healer, but most of the people he encountered on this new spiritual journey were only immersed deeply in themselves. This was a clue that made him realise that first one should come to maturity oneself. Only a person who has tested all stages of personal growth to his own cost will be able to advise or help others. Maturity is above all about knowing what our abilities are and having the wisdom to distinguish between what one can do and what one should do. From here on, things should be simple.

During his rehabilitation in the Centre for Blind and Partially-Sighted in Škofja Loka, Marino enrolled in the College of Social Work, which he completed successfully, even receiving the Student Award for his graduate thesis. During his studies, he attended a number of workshops and training courses on counselling and therapy. He also attended the School of Cybernetic Psychotherapy at the Faculty of Medicine in Zagreb, and an introductory course for professional psychotherapists. Within the Odmev Society, he also received training in individual and group work.

When Marino became dependent on other people's help, he refused to accept the idea that his life would be limited to three or four companions, which he saw as a social suicide of sorts. Over the years he trained himself and is now able to move around without being reliant on one particular assistant, recognising and adjusting to different people's body language. He teaches people with unimpaired sight how to do things - which turns on its head the standard notion of blind people and their needs. It is, as he calls it, the "creation of a world in common".

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