Montenegro

'It’s About Ability' campaign honoured for the Best Humanitarian Action in Montenegro

By Jelena Perovic

PODGORICA, Montenegro, 17 February 2011 – “It’s About Ability”, a campaign promoting the inclusion of children with disabilities into society, recently won Montenegro’s annual award for “the best humanitarian action.”

© UNICEF Montenegro/2011
VIDEO: Watch a UNICEF Montenegro video that was shown at a special event in Podgorica marking the end of the first phase of the 'It's About Ability' campaign.

 

The UNICEF-supported campaign aims to galvanize support for the inclusion of children with disabilities into society by changing the public’s engrained attitudes and practices towards the disabled.

‘Like any other child’

Lazar Dragojevic, one of many active child advocates in the campaign, received the award on Tuesday`s live nationwide telecast. When asked what it’s like being the only disabled child in his class, Lazar simply said: “I am part of my school just like any other child."

Over a three-month period, billboards were posted all over the country depicting Montenegro’s disabled children as active members of society. Adapted from an earlier successful campaign in Croatia, they centred on the following key messages: Where many see difficulties, we see opportunities; where many see obstacles, we see friendship; where many see weakness, we see courage; and where many see burden, we see love.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Montenegro/2011
UNICEF and government representatives together with some of many child advocates in the "It's About Ability" campaign and Atlas TV journalist.
A broad coalition of more than 100 partners joined the campaign led by the Government of Montenegro and UNICEF, including; the European Union, Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Associations of Parents of Children with disabilities.

Power of partnership

The campaign has already notched up significant results. An evaluation survey of the first phase showed that the number of people who believe that children with disabilities should only live in special institutions nearly halved.
 
Thousands of people across the country shared their enthusiasm for the cause by voting via text and Facebook for the UNICEF-supported campaign to win the “humanitarian action award in 2010”.

“This award is recognition of the ability and potential of children with disabilities. It's a tribute to parents of children with disabilities, their courage, love and devotion. It's a demonstration of the power of partnership and the power of child participation for social change. Because most of all, this award is about children. Children with disabilities and their friends have shown us the way. They have demonstrated what “It's About Ability” really means. This is their award and their success,” said UNICEF Montenegro Representative Noala Skinner.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF Montenegro/2011
UNCEF Montenegro Representative Noala Skinner comments on the award and the "It's About Ability" campaign on the live nationwide telecast.

A great start

A participant of the “It’s about ability” campaign, Ksenija Brajovic, 16, won the award for the statement of the year.

"Children with disabilities let us into their world so easily. I believe this is a great thing and that we should let them into our world in the same way," she said at the closing event of the first phase of the campaign in December.

“What started as a campaign has evolved into a movement supporting full inclusion of children with disabilities into all aspects of life in Montenegro – families, schools, communities and hearts. We cannot and will not stop here. `It’s About Ability` will continue, and grow. There is a lot of work in front of us but the results of the campaign evaluation show that we are off to a great start,” concluded UNICEF Montenegro Representative Noala Skinner.


 

 

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