UNICEF Representative visits the leading inclusive municipality in Montenegro
PLJEVLJA, November 29, 2011 - UNICEF Representative Mr. Benjamin Perks visited the Municipality of Pljevlja and congratulated them on being the leading inclusive local community in Montenegro, where all actors – municipal authorities, social, health and education services - work together on ensuring that children with disabilities enjoy their rights on an equal basis with other children.
‘’Pljevlja is really special because they have made concerted efforts, both the Municipality and the NGO of parents of children with disability, Centre for Social Work to ensure that children with disabilities are integrated into both education and through the Day Care Centre,’’ said UNICEF Representative Mr. Benjamin Perks.
Mr. Perks visited the recently opened Day Care Centre in Pljevlja, where with UNICEF’s support all the staff were trained on the best practices of work with children with disabilities in a Day Care Center setting. Currently, there are 16 children and youth beneficiaries of the Day Care Centre.
‘’We provide care, rehabilitation and education to children with disabilities, so that they can acquire the skills for everyday life and work. This is a very important form of support to parents, because it allows them to work. Before the opening of the Daz Care Centre, parents had to take care of children with severe disabilities at home for 20 hours. Now, the children are 8 hours at the Day Care Centre said Svetlana Dujovic, Director of Day Care Centre in Pljevlja.
In order for children with disabilities to be truly integrated within a community, it is essential that they have opportunities to meet and study with their peers every day. For this reason, Mr Perks visited the inclusive primary school “Bosko Buha’ in Pljevlja and congratulated the school principal on their efforts to create an environment where children with and without disabilities can have good time together in classes and on school trips.
“I think everyone benefits from inclusive education. We are enriching the whole community and society,’’ said Sanela Kadić, Pedagogue at Primary School “Boško Buha’’.
‘’Everything is the same as in the regular class. Teachers pay attention to our friend as much as to us. He is learning the same lessons that we learn but in a more concise form,’’ said Berina Janović, student at Primary School "Boško Buha".
One of the aspects that makes Pljevlja a unique leader of inclusion in Montenegro is the fact that around 50 students from Pljevlja`s high schools volunteer to play and spend quality time with children with disabilities.
‘’Mostly, we spend time with them. We help them to feel like part of our society. We spread inclusion. At the Day Care Centre we play with them, we paint together and we help each child in different ways depending on his/her needs and abilities,’’ said the volunteer Tijana Soković.
The aim of the ongoing child and social welfare reform is to have all municipalities offering quality services for families with children with disabilities like Pljevlja’s.