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26 primary schools in Serbia certified for successful implementation of the School without Violence programme

11 new schools to begin the implementation of the programme thanks to Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS)

Belgrade, 26 February 2008 – Twenty six primary schools in Serbia have been  certified today for the successful implementation of the „School without Violence – Towards Safe and Enabling Environment for Children“ programme.

The School without Violence programme for primary school pupils has been initiated with the aim to reduce violence against and among children.

Currently, 101 primary schools in Serbia are encompassed by the programme.   In March 2008, additional 25 schools will join in.  11 of them have been „adopted” by the  Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS) which has thus become the biggest corporate  donor for the  School without Violence programme.

„Even though an impressive number of schools are currently implementing the programme, that is only 10 per cent of the total number of schools in Serbia. This is not enough. It is necessary to have other schools interested, to have them apply and begin the programme. Our goal is to have safe and enabling environment for children in all schools in the country“, said H.E. Mr. Zoran Loncar, Serbian Minister of Education.

The “School without Violence: Towards Safe and Enabling Environment“ was launched in 2005 by UNICEF in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Council for Child Rights of the Republic of Serbia and Institute for Advancement of Education. In September 2007, the Ministry of the Interior joined in.

“We all know that it is impossible to eradicate violence in schools, but it certainly can be  prevented and reduced. The results achieved in these 26 schools through the implementation of the programme prove it. Experiences from other countries show that visible results are not possible in one or three years. Positive results become visible   when one full generation of pupils goes through all grades of schooling following the non-violence principles”, stated Ms. Judita Reichenberg, UNICEF Area Representative for Serbia and for Croatia.

The „School without Violence” programme in Serbia is financed solely through locally raised funds – from contributions by individual donors and companies. So far, over 50,000 individuals and 1,000 companies have given their contributions, while 20 companies have adopted one or more schools.

“As a socially responsible company, the Electric Power Industry of Serbia has recognised the importance of this programme for the development of the society. We have decided to provide support through our 11 Economic Associations by adopting 11 schools in municipalities where these Associations are active, said Mr. Momcilo Cebalovic, Director of Public Relations of the Electric Power Industry of Serbia.

Special contribution to the School without Violence programme has been given by UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia Mr. Aleksandar Sasa Djordjevic whose fundraising efforts have enabled the initial 53 schools to join the programme. Ms. Ana Ivanovic, the world known tennis player and also UNICEF National Ambassador, has also given a donation and helped 15 schools to start with the implementation of the School without Violence programme.

 

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