Ana Ivanovic meets pupils participating in the "School without violence" programme
Belgrade, 19th November 2010 – Ana Ivanovic, UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia, today met the pupils of 15 elementary and secondary schools in the “School without violence” programme and talked with them about the problem of school violence, her role in support of this programme, and also about the role of school in providing support to children who suffer, or who commit, violence,
The famous tennis player discussed issues of understanding and accepting diversity among children, particularly pointing out that children with behavioural problems need assistance. The pupils mentioned positive examples of violence prevention and response in their schools, and also the problems they have been facing. When expressing their views, the children stressed the importance of participation by their class mates, the entire school, and wider community in order to create a safe school, encouraging learning, studying and development.
“Our peer team is open for new members. Newly arrived pupils have also joined us. Being part of the team, they are no longer new as the entire school is familiar with our team. The other children trust us, so when we accept a newly arrived pupil, they do the same. The peer team is a place where pupils who sometimes commit violence themselves are included. By doing useful things for the school, these pupils change and “make up for the mistake”, as the children from the towns of Jagodina and Pancevo told us.
“The fact that we all differ does not mean we cannot cooperate. We should all meet our needs, in the school or in the field, but in a way that does not interfere with other people. Diversity helps us make a better examination of ourselves and others as well”, Ana commented.
Talking about the “School without violence” programme and the activities undertaken by children in fighting against and responding to violence, Ana pointed out how important it is that everyone is given a chance to improve.
”Even children who occasionally do harm to somebody, do that because they have their own problems. Though we get angry at them, we should make an effort to get to know them and understand them better in order to be able to help them “, Ana said.
Ana Ivanovic took the opportunity to thank in her own name and in the name of Sasa Djordjevic, also a UNICEF National Ambassador, all the businessmen who responded to their appeal and provided financial support to UNICEF, thus enabling expansion of the school without violence network in Serbia.
The “School without violence” program has been a partnership project implemented by UNICEF, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Interior Affairs, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Council for Child Rights of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Institute for the Improvement of Education. So far, 194 elementary and 9 secondary schools have been included in the Program throughout Serbia.
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