It's About Ability in Kotor and Pljevlja
KOTOR - NOVEMBER 30, PLJEVLJA – DECEMBER 2, 2010 – Within the “It’s about ability” campaign, on November 30th at 11.00am in Kotor and on December 2 at 11.00am in Pljevlja, local parliaments will have a special session on making their municipalities inclusive for all children.
UNICEF Representative Noala Skinner will talk to the parliamentarians about the benefits and the best ways of promoting inclusion of children with disabilities in their municipalities.
Deputy Minister of Education Vesna Vucurovic will talk about the importance of inclusive education for creating an inclusive society.
Children from local school parliaments and representatives of the local Association of parents of children with disabilities will present to the local parliamentarians their ideas about the best ways to transform their municipalities to meet the needs of all children.
It’s about ability campaign is based on a survey that was conducted among 1,000 citizens in Montenegro in August 2010 and that showed significant social distance towards children with disabilities. Almost 2/3 of citizens find it unacceptable that a child with disabilities goes to the same class with their child. Just one out of five citizens wouldn't mind the child with disabilities to be the best friend of their child.
“It is essential to create and foster an inclusive and enabling environment for all children in Montenegro. Children with disabilities have the same right as others to participate in and enjoy the arts, sports, games, films and other fun activities. So, schools, theatres, museums, playgrounds, beaches and libraries should be accessible by everyone without inhibition, including children with disabilities.” says UNICEF Representative Noala Skinner. “Ensuring the full enjoyment of their rights on an equal basis with other children is the responsibility not only of the government, but of every member of society.”
UNICEF has approached all municipalities in Montenegro with the proposal to have a special session on inclusion. Local parliaments of Bijelo Polje, Andrijevica, Rozaje, Berane, Bar and Tivat have had sessions on inclusion within the “It’s about ability” campaign so far. The aim is to raise awareness of the most influential and active citizens, local parliamentarians, about the importance of creating inclusive communities as they benefit the whole society.
One of the key messages on billboards all over the country is: It’s about ability – Join Us! Special sessions on inclusion in local parliaments are aimed at inviting Montenegrin opinion-leaders to join the campaign and become actively engaged in transforming their communities to support all children to develop to their full potential.
“Many successful people, famous for their abilities could have fallen by the wayside because they were in some way disabled. Churchill - probably the most famous orator in the English language overcame a speaking impediment; Roosevelt governed America for four terms from a wheel chair; Beethoven’s music still brings joy to millions, and Hawking is one of the most important scientists alive today. If we exclude children with disability, who knows what Montenegro and the world could be missing?” concludes UNICEF Representative Noala Skinner.
Campaign’s key messages – Where many see difficulties, we see opportunities; where many see obstacles, we see friendship; where many see weakness, we see courage; and where many see burden, we see love – are posted on billboards and city lights all over the country in order to stimulate Montenegrin citizens to welcome children with physical and/or learning disabilities into their homes, communities and hearts without fear or prejudice.
For additional information, please contact: Ms. Jelena Perović, Communication Officer, UNICEF Montenegro; phone: +382 20 224 277 Ext. 3; fax: +382 20 224 278; cell phone: +382 69 225 315; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.unicef.org/montenegro