UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks during the General Secretary's visit to Montenegro on July 22
Story by Jelena Perovic
CETINJE, 22 July 2012 – During the visit of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to Montenegro, his wife Mrs. Ban Soon-teak joined prominent young Paralympic athletes Marijana Goranovic and Ilija Tadic, Minister of Culture Branislav Micunovic, UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks, Mayor of Cetinje Aleksandar Bogdanovic and Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Vesna Vucurovic in launching the new ‘’It’s About Ability’’ campaign TV commercial in Cetinje, the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro on July 22, 2012.
Since the beginning in September 2010, the campaign, ‘Govorimo o mogućnostima’ or ‘It’s About Ability’, has consistently showed the human potential for children with disability. “On the one hand, there is a need to build systems to realize the rights of children with disability - systems for detection and assessment of disability, for inclusive education and social work interventions to support families of children with disability. But also, there needs to be a parallel effort to address the stigma and prejudice against children with disability and the aim of this campaign is to really show the positive face of children with disabilities and to bring them out into the open,” UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks explained.
The campaign’s new TV commercial shines a light on what young people with disability can do if given a chance to engage in sports. It shows two prominent Montenegrin athletes with disability Marijana Goranovic and Ilija Tadic.
Marijana will represent Montenegro and compete with the world's best paralympic athletes at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in September. At the launching event, parents and children applauded Marijana loudly for calling upon all children with disability in Montenegro to follow the example provided by her and Ilija “not be ashamed of their appearance, to go out of their homes and do sports”.
Ilija underlined that thanks to sports he has made many new friends and travelled the world. “Through sport I challenge myself and improve my abilities every day. Recently, I came back from a Paralympic competition in Berlin, where I was the only representative of Montenegro and I won 1 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medal. Thanks to swimming, I get to know children from all over the world and meet new friends.’’
UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and his wife Mrs. Ban Soon-teak arrived to Montenegro on July 22 during their visit to the South-eastern Europe. On this occasion, Mrs. Ban Soon-teak joined UNICEF Representative Benjamin Perks in launching the new TV commercial of the It’s about ability campaign. She congratulated Marijana, Ilija and other Montenegrin athletes with disability on their courage, strength, ability, commitment and achievements. She emphasized that every society must provide children with disability with opportunities to become known for what they can do. “We must address discrimination and raise public awareness so that all children are understood and accepted for their unique and wonderful abilities,” Mrs. Ban Soon-teak pointed out.
UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks at the launch of the new "It's About Ability" campaign TV commercial together with the wife of the UN Secretary General Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek and young Paralympic athletes Ilija Tadic and Marijana Goranovic
Montenegro’s Minister of Culture Branislav Micunovic underlined the immense potential of culture and sports for making social changes. “For this reason, the role of artists and athletes is to be the avant-garde of every society and I congratulate Marijana and Ilija for being Montenegro’s avant-garde athletes,” Mr Micunovic said at the launching event.
The Mayor of Cetinje Aleksandar Bogdanovic pointed out that Cetinje is recognized as “one of the municipalities which consistently supports young people with disability” and announced establishing of a Day Care Centre for children with disability in near future. In this way, Cetinje will become the seventh municipality to establish this service in order to let children with disabilities live with their families and actively participate in the life of their local community.
According to UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks, one of the aims of the new TV commercial is to remind everyone that sport provides an opportunity for young people with disability to become known for their abilities. “Through this TV commercial we invite all schools, sport clubs and local communities to make arrangements to support children with disability to access physical education and sport with their peers. Because disability does not define a child. Ability and potential do,” Mr Perks concluded.
Disability must never prevent children from fully participating in play and sports. And every child has right to participate in sports on an equal basis with others – it was concluded at the launching of the new TV commercial of the ongoing It’s about ability campaign, which has so far positively changed the behaviour of 23% of Montenegro’s citizens towards children with disability according to the evaluation survey conducted in November 2011.