Advije Gashi, the Woman Who Never Gave Up

Advija was a lawyer, and also the co-founder of Association Norma. She was a prominent women’s rights activist in the women’s rights movement, where she started her hard work when she was only 21 years old, working in different organizations and institutions.

“With Advushi, as most of her friends called her, since the establishment of Association Norma she was engaged with different activities. She was always prepared, and diligently she finished her tasks and above all with great will she contributed in different ways to help women in need,” said Valbona Salihu, Director of Association Norma.

Meanwhile Sanije Grajqevci from Association Aureola, spoke highly of Advije’s contribution as an activist: “I have known her since 1996 when Aureola started to deal more with humans rights, especially with women’s rights. In this field, she was very engaged with different meetings, workshops, conferences to contribute to raising awareness of citizens on human’s rights especially on women’s rights. She was an example to all of us; the way she handled problems, the way she communicated, cooperated, supported us and shared the successes and sacrifices to achieve the mission of ensuring that “all people to have equal rights. “From the stories of her life, she overcame all the challenges that life brought to her; we understood that she was a courageous and very strong woman. She was a great mother, a loving friend, a professional and a supporter and an inspiration for all, especially for young activists,“ added Sanija

Mrs. Advije despite being a successful career woman, was also a wonderful friend and mother. Her close friend, activist and actress, Safete Rogova shared with us a few words dedicated Mrs. Advije. “I don’t give up easily” was her motto. I have known Advije since we were students in 1967-8. She studied law and I studied philology. Back then there used to be only one cafeteria for students. We met there and laughed and got mad when we didn’t pass our exams. There we even met our loved ones.

Advije came, holding hands with Bashkim Gashi, a future engineer. “Advije, you know that Bashkim is my cousin from my mother’s side. “If he change his mind?” ‘No’, she would reply ‘I don’t give up that easily”.

And she really made it work with Bashkim. They got married, had three boys, three wonderful kids. But their happiness didn’t last. Bashkim got sick and during the best years of his life he passed away leaving Advije alone with her three little boys. Instead of being overcome with grief and tears, Advije dedicated herself to raising her children by working extra hours. She raised and educated them until they started their own lives and created their families. Her face would glow when she spoke about her daughters-in-law, and nephews and nieces. After we both got dismissed from our jobs, Advija gave her contribution as a lawyer to all women’s rights organizations. She was honest and opposed things that were wrong.

“She was my friend, but as an actress I knew nothing about laws, so I would tease her “give up Advije, you are wrong”.

“I don’t give up easily” she would reply, distraught.

And yes most of the time she was right, because even when things wouldn’t go that well, she was light-hearted. She loved humour… she would tell often jokes in Albanian, Turkish and Bosnian.

The illness took her happiness, the dream to see her nephews and nieces and how they would call to her “come grandma, play with us”.

And that strong woman, great activist, and loving friend to all, finally “gave up” quietly, without words, with eyes blazing as if they were saying “continue working also for me.”

Advije Gashi passed away at age 67, on 2 August 2015, after a long battle with cancer.