Local Authorities in Mojkovac welcome ‘It’s About Ability’
MOJKOVAC, JUNE 6, 2012 – Special session of Municipal Parliament dedicated to inclusive local communities was held in Mojkovac.
In the opening speech, President of the Municipality of Mojkovac Dejan Medojević said that local authorities together with civil sector are working constantly and in partnership to create conditions and opportunities for children in their community and Montenegro to have the same rights and living conditions as their peers in EU member states.
‘’Poverty reduction, inclusion of young people in local development plans through strengthening of children's rights such as equal opportunities, inclusion, special awareness towards marginalized groups and persons with disabilities are certainly priorities for future work at both local and national level," said Medojevic.
President of the Municipal Assembly Slaven Blažević talked about inclusive education and called on parents not to keep their children with disabilities at home.
"With this form of education, children with disabilities were taught that school is not just a place for mastering the curriculum, but it should also be a place where everyone gathers. No child should stay at home, isolated and without a possibility to get in contact with other children," Blazevic said.
Members of the Students' Parliament of the Primary School "Aleksa Bećo Đilas" Aleksandra Medojević and Slavko Sošić addressed the local parliament on behalf of children from Mojkovac and gave proposals on how to create better conditions and improve living and socializing with children with disabilities.
“Children with disabilities should be provided with professional assistance of a speech therapist and a physiotherapist in our town. They shouldn’t have to go to other towns to visit them, and then wait a lot of time for their turn,” said Slavko Sošić, member of the Students’ Parliament at Primary School ”Aleksa Đilas Bećo’’
"The school we come from is open to all children. Our town is small, so we all know each other. We are all different in some ways as children, but we have learned that differences cannot be an obstacle to friendship. There are seven children with disabilities and three Roma children in our school. They are part of our classes, we are friends, and we help each other as much as we can.," Aleksandra Medojević, also member of the Students’ Parliament at Primary School ”Aleksa Đilas Bećo“ explained.
Sanja Bošković from the Association of Parents of Children with Disabilities and Duško Rakočević from the NGO "Heart" talked about the needs, challenges and ways to improve the quality of life for families with children with disabilities in Mojkovac.
UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks presented the data from Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey on inclusion of children with disabilities for Mojkovac Municipality.
‘’58 % of respondents in Mojkovac said that children should be in special institutions for learning and this is higher than national average of 42 %. So we have to do a lot of work in Mojkovac to convince the community that children with disabilities should be included in regular school. We also had a fairly large per cent of population that believe that children should be living in special institutions at 57 % compared to the national average of 35%. On the positive side, if you speak to parents with children with disabilities, one of the things that is mayor concern is that people in the rest of society don’t know what is involved and what kind of services are needed. But in Mojkovac there is a very strong awareness of the need for the existence of the Day Care Centre. Only 5 % of people in Mojkovac didn’t know what the day care centre was compared to the national average of over 40%,’’ UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks concluded.
The special session of the Parliament sparked a discussion among the Parliament Representatives, parents and children about inclusion, inclusive education, opening of the Day Care Centre in Mojkovac and poverty.
As part of the event, people in Mojkovac were also able to view a photo exhibition of prominent young athletes with disabilities from the Special Olympics and Paralympics.
After the session UNICEF Representative with local authorities visited the Day Care Centre for children with disabilities, which is under construction.