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Tennis star Ana Ivanovic meets with Serbian children to put an end to violence in schools

© UNICEF Serbia/2008/Maccak
Top world tennis player Ana Ivanovic, National Ambassador for Serbia, with pupils at '14 October' primary school in Baric, a municipality south-east of Serbia's capital, Belgrade.

BELGRADE, Serbia, 14 November 2008 – UNICEF Serbia National Ambassador Ana Ivanovic today visited the '14 October' primary school in Baric, south-east of Belgrade.

Thanks to Ms. Ivanovic's donation, the school has begun to implement a UNICEF programme known as 'School Without Violence - Towards a Safe and Enabling Environment for Children'.

"I am truly happy to give my own contribution to the efforts in solving the serious issue of violence and bullying in schools," Ms. Ivanovic announced to the pupils. "It is my pleasure to come to one of the schools that is involved in the programme, and to hear from children and teachers that the programme is progressing and that a difference has been made.

"In school, like in sports, we need to continuously monitor and evaluate our performance in order to improve ourselves. Even when we are losing, we need to know how to make something good out of it – and how to become better."

© UNICEF Serbia/2008/Maccak
Ana Ivanovic with pupils at '14 October' primary school.

Non-violence through sport
During her year-long ambassadorship with UNICEF, Ms. Ivanovic has already donated over $73,000, thus enabling 15 schools in Serbia to join the 'School Without Violence' programme. She is currently fronting the 'You Are Cool' campaign within the programme that is directed toward school children.

Ms. Ivanovic has been active in supporting UNICEF to promote sport for development through fair-play tournaments aimed at creating a culture of non-violence among school children, as well as in fundraising efforts for strengthening UNICEF programmes in Serbia. 

"I appeal to all the people of goodwill, citizens and corporations, to unite with us and help us give children a chance for a better and happier childhood. It is only the joint effort and commitment of us all that can ensure the true development of our society," said Ms. Ivanovic.

Safer schools, safer communities
'School Without Violence' is a comprehensive programme for pupils, teachers, parents and entire communities that UNICEF implements in cooperation with the Ministries of Education, Health, Labour and Social Policy, and Interior, as well as the Council for Child Rights of the Republic of Serbia and the Institute for Advancement of Education.

Designed to address the increased violence among children and adolescents in Serbia in recent years, the programme is financed solely through locally raised funds – contributions by individual donors and businesses.

The programme provides children and adults with the knowledge and skills needed for conflict management and resolution. Currently, 137 schools are implementing the programme, encompassing over 84,000 pupils and some 8,400 teachers.



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