Pljevlja – a leader in building an inclusive community
UNICEF calls for sustainable funding from municipal and national budgets to be provided to day care centres for children with disabilities, youth centres and free sports and cultural activities for young people in every local community
PLJEVLJA, JUNE 10, 2021 – Building an inclusive society starts from providing equal opportunities to every child in local communities – this was the conclusion of the field trip of UNICEF Montenegro Representative Juan Santander to Pljevlja, where he met with the Mayor Igor Golubović, director of the Day Care Centre for Children with disabilities Svetlana Dujović and the coach of the female football team Zoran Vuković.
I am glad to start field visits with Pljevlja, as child poverty is greatest in the north of Montenegro. UNICEF will work with Pljevlja and other municipalities on ensuring sustainable funding to the essential family services like day care centres for children with disabilities. We will also work with municipalities to ensure that schools remain open during the pandemic and that the quality of education improves. Finally, it is important to provide children and young people with more free sports and cultural activities in every local community and the female football club Breznica in Pljevlja is an inspiring example.
Pljevlja’s Mayor Igor Golubović agreed that sustainable funding to the day care centre for children with disabilities in Pljevlja needs to be ensured both from the municipal and national budgets. According to Golubović, supporting youth centres by municipal and national authorities is a priority in order for young people to have more opportunities to acquire different skills and experiences through various out-of-school activities in the local community.
Within the Day care centre for children with disabilities, Santander became acquainted with different services that are provided to the families with children with disabilities in Pljevlja. According to Svetlana Dujović, director of the Day care centre, these services became even more important during the pandemic and new e-services were developed to support families during the lockdown and school closure periods. Close cooperation of the day care centre with the Association of parents of children with disabilities Ray of Hope, schools, preschools, health centre and the centre for social welfare proved to be crucial for supporting families with children with disabilities.
Džejrana Čengić, champion of the Female Football Club Breznica, shared with Santander her joy of realizing her childhood wish to play football. She hopes that female football will be equally recognized as the male one in future and recommends to all girls who wish to play it to do so. Her coach Zoran Vuković invited parents of girls who would like to play football to visit their trainings and have a firsthand insight into the benefits of sports for both girls and boys. He announced a new cooperation with the Day care centre for children with disabilities and Special Olympics so that football becomes available not only to boys and girls, but also to both children with and without disabilities in Pljevlja.
If the epidemiological situation allows it, Santander will continue with field visits and meetings with children, parents and professionals working with families all over the country in order to hear directly from them about the key challenges that they face and the best ways to support them.