Being a father is an opportunity of a lifetime - Member of national basketball team, Djuro Ostojic, reads a story to preschool children in the capital
PODGORICA, August 5, 2009 - Member of Montenegrin national basketball team and a spokesperson for the campaign “The Early Years – An Opportunity of a Lifetime”, Mr. Djuro Ostojic, together with UNICEF Representative Ms. Noala Skinner, visited the preschool “Suncokrili” in the capital Podgorica on Wednesday morning, August 5. Djuro Ostojic, who became a father for the first time recently, played basketball with children and read them a story.
“I am thankful to UNICEF for giving me an opportunity to spend this morning with children here and I would like to appeal to all fathers to be involved not only after the childbirth, but also during pregnancy: go to the doctor with your wife, become acquainted with all relevant issues and support your wife through 9 months period of expecting this beautiful moment when the child is born.” said Djuro Ostojic on this occasion.“Our research showed that only 7% of fathers are involved in teaching a child his/her first moral principles – what is good and what is bad; on average, Montenegrin parents read a story to and with their children only once a week; fathers participate less in education activities, but more often watch TV and go for walks with children.”
Ms. Skinner presented to media key findings of UNICEF research about attitudes and practices of Montenegro’s parents with children up to 6 years old. “Our research showed that only 7% of fathers are involved in teaching a child his/her first moral principles – what is good and what is bad; on average, Montenegrin parents read a story to and with their children only once a week; fathers participate less in education activities, but more often watch TV and go for walks with children.” She also emphasized the importance of father’s support to mothers from the beginning as data from research shows that “41% of mothers visited the doctor alone during pregnancy; 37% of breastfeeding mothers say no one helps them with nutrition and breastfeeding, cleaning and bathing the child; and 59% of fathers did not know how their child was fed.”
Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Nebojsa Todorovic, and Deputy Minister of Education, Ms. Vesna Vucurovic, joined UNICEF in promoting the role of fathers today. “I would like to say to all fathers: cuddle with your children, play with them, read them stories, hug them – be their fathers.” said Mr. Todorovic while talking to the media in the preschool “Suncokrili” in Podgorica.
Several fathers participated in the event and children talked to media about most common activities with their fathers. “My dad tought me how to ride a bike” said a 4-year old girl on this occasion. “I play with blocks and cars with my dad” added a 3-year old boy. “My father taught me how to swim” said a 4-year old boy, with pride.
“Being a father is an opportunity of a lifetime” concluded UNICEF Montenegro Representative Noala Skinner while appealing to all Montenegro’s parents.
This event is part of the 3-month awareness raising campaign “The Early Years – An Opportunity of a Lifetime” that UNICEF and the Ministry of Health launched on August 1, 2009. The campaign focuses on promoting breastfeeding, more active involvement of fathers and alternatives to physical punishment of children.