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It's about ability - Intergenerational dialogue on inclusion In Bijelo Polje

BIJELO POLJE, Montenegro, 4 March 2011 – Within the It’s about ability campaign, and in the presence of the British Ambassador to Montenegro, Katherine Knight Sands, UNICEF Representative Noala Skinner, 40 children with and without disabilities will discuss social inclusion with parents, representatives of local and national authorities and various institutions for children from Kolasin, Mojkovac, Pljevlja and Bijelo Polje in the Hotel “Bijela Rada” in Bijelo Polje from 11.30 until 13.45 on Monday, March 7, 2011.

It’s about ability campaign continues in 2011 starting from this first in a series of intergenerational dialogues on social inclusion, which will be organized in various parts of Montenegro throughout the year.

Following a two day workshop led by the NGO “Centre for Child Rights”, with support from UNICEF and the British  Embassy, Podgorica children from Bijelo Polje, Mojkovac, Kolasin, Pljevlja and Podgorica will reflect, listen and exchange ideas on social inclusion with parents, representatives of local and national authorities, Centres for Social Welfare, preschools and primary schools, Parents’ Councils and Associations, Day Care Centres for children with disability and the Centre for Child and Family Support.

A UNICEF survey on knowledge, attitudes and practices of citizens in Montenegro towards children with disabilities from 2010 showed considerable social distance on the part of adults towards inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream education. .

On the other side, children speak of sincere friendship, having good time together in classes and on school trips and not being neglected through the inclusive education approach. Children and young people speak of a wish for equal treatment for all children.

For this reason, intergenerational dialogues in 2011 will provide an opportunity for adults to listen and reflect on children’s experiences and engage together with children in concrete actions that will transform and open local communities to all children.

“True dialogue transforms participants - adults and children alike - by fostering change and new understanding. Our goal is for intergenerational dialogues to build on existing good practice and lead to behaviour change at the local level. Each intergenerational dialogue should result in concrete actions that its participants will take in order to create more opportunities for children with and without disabilities to meet, play, learn and grow up together in their local community.” says UNICEF Montenegro Representative Noala Skinner.

Two children will moderate the intergenerational dialogue and one child will be the rapporteur, who will summarize the main recommendations for actions of each local community.

The aim of the campaign It’s About Ability is to promote inclusion of children with disabilities into society by stimulating changes in attitudes and practices of the general public towards them. A broad coalition of more than 100 partners supports the “It’s about ability” campaign since September 2010 including: the Government of Montenegro, UNICEF, international community, Associations of Parents of Children with disabilities, Centre for Child Rights and other civil sector organizations promoting child rights, print and electronic media, the private sector, children with and without disabilities and parents from all over the country. In 2011, within the It’s about ability campaign, intergenerational dialogues and a series of various events will be organized throughout the country in order to continue creating opportunities for citizens to interact with children with disability, see their potential, courage, strength and love and welcome them into their hearts, homes and communities.

For additional information, please contact:  

Ms. Jelena Perović
Communication Officer
UNICEF Montenegro
Phone: +382 20 224 277 Ext. 3
Fax: +382 20 224 278
Cell phone: +382 69 225 315
Email: jperovic@unicef.org
Website: www.unicef.org/montenegro
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