It's about abilities
The UNICEF-supported initiative “Prilike” provides opportunities for adolescents with disabilities, together with their peers, to engage in practical job experiences in the private sector in Montenegro
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PODGORICA, 4 December 2022 – On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, UNICEF is calling for the provision of equal rights and opportunities to children and young people with disabilities. The UNICEF-supported initiative “Prilike” is an example of one way to do this, as it offers opportunities to adolescents with disabilities, together with their peers, to engage in practical job experience across the private sector in Montenegro.
Radovan Džuver is one of 50 adolescents with disabilities who joined this initiative during 2022. He said that he had learned a lot about what actual jobs look like in the real world. In his opinion, more opportunities like this should be provided for young people with or without disabilities, as they help them make good choices about their career and prepare for it.
“My message to all employers in Montenegro is to give persons with disabilities a chance,” said Radovan.
His mentor and employer, Jelena Perovic, pointed out that having Radovan doing a practical job experience in their company had strengthened their awareness of the importance of diversity within their company.
“We have to focus on what we can do, not on what we cannot do. For example, I see Radovan as a lecturer, a mentor, or maybe an NGO activist tomorrow. I see him raising awareness about the fact that he can do a lot. Even though he is a high school student with disabilities, he is a member of a swimming club, he plays chess, sings, etc.,” Perovic added.
Like Radovan, Borjana Radulović also had useful practical job experience through the “Prilike” programme. She got positive feedback from clients about her massages in a physiotherapy practice and became acquainted with how different equipment for physiotherapy works.
“I would appeal to all employers in Montenegro to give persons with disabilities a chance,” said Borjana.
For her mentor and employer, Angela Vojvodic, this was the first time she had a young person with disabilities having practical job experience. She pointed out how this experience was excellent for the company.
“My message to all employers is to include more young people with disabilities in work, because working with them is truly a fantastic experience. They can do a lot and they know a lot. So, let’s all give them a chance,” said Vojvodic.
Marina Vujacic from the Association of Youth with Disabilities, one of the key partners of the “Prilike” initiative, described it as a quite useful programme for preparing young people with disabilities to lead a productive and satisfied independent life as adults.
“Our message to all young people is to use every chance they get. In this age, programmes like this one are quite significant for young people, as they give them a chance to develop communication skills, become acquainted with the basic principles of work relations and decision-making processes at the working place,” Vujacic pointed out.
For UNICEF, “Prilike” is one of many initiatives this organization is supporting to build a just society that gives equal opportunities to every child in Montenegro.
“Many inventors, scientists, famous artists and other celebrities had disabilities, such as Beethoven, Frida Kahlo, Hawking, Picasso and many more. Their contributions to humanity remind us of UNICEF’s message – It’s about abilities. Every child has the right to opportunities to reach their full potential in life. Join us to give every child and young person in Montenegro that chance, and they will transform this country to its full potential,” said Juan Santander, UNICEF Montenegro’s Representative.
Nina Krgovic from the International Labor Organization sees “Prilike” as an excellent initiative to promote inclusive youth employment in Montenegro in line with the EU accession process. She reminds of the European Youth Guarantee, one of the most innovative labour market policies of recent years, that commits all EU member states to provide all young people under 30 with work opportunities like the ones offered through the “Prilike” programme in Montenegro.
“Young people with disabilities are a significant pool of human resources in every country. By including them in youth employment initiatives, we help them grow into productive citizens who will contribute to the country’s economy. This is in the best interests of young people and all of Montenegro,” Krgovic pointed out.
So far, more than 1,500 adolescents, of whom 50 have disabilities, have had practical job experiences through the “Prilike” programme, implemented with support from UNICEF and TUI Care Foundation and in partnership with the Association of Youth with Disabilities, the Association for Democratic Prosperity – ZID and the NGO Digitalizuj.me.
In the coming years, with the financial support of the TUI Care Foundation, the programme aims to involve schools and the private sector more intensively to provide every adolescent in Montenegro with at least one work experience before the end of high school. In this way, young people will be better prepared to make choices about their future jobs and education.