Citizens of Belgrade, UNICEF and JKP Infostan for children with disabilities and their families

12 October 2022
eci saopstenje
UNICEF Srbija/2020/Vaš

Belgrade, 12 October 2022 - Citizens of Belgrade can help families and children with disabilities by donating the desired amount via UNICEF payment slips they received together with monthly bills from JKP Infostan. With timely inclusion in the early intervention programme, more than 70% of children with developmental risks return to typical development paths, while long-term support is needed by about 20% of these children.

UNICEF will use the funds raised to equip developmental counselling units in the Belgrade municipalities of Rakovica, Zemun, Čukarica and Novi Beograd, where intersectoral early intervention teams have already been formed, as well as to train, and later provide equipement for, teams in the municipalities of Palilula, Zvezdara, Voždovac, Grocka, Lazarevac, Obrenovac and Stari Grad..

In order for children with disabilities and their families to receive comprehensive support from experts, the premises of developmental counselling units need to be fitted out in line with children’s needs, stimulating imagination, creativity and their need to learn and play. It is, therefore, necessary to procure technical equipment, didactic aids and assistive technology that improves children’s communication with parents and peers, and their more efficient functioning in everyday life.

All early intervention teams, composed of health, education and social protection experts, gathered around families of children with disabilities up to 6 years of age, need an off-road vehicle for home visits, in order to provide support in natural environment, because children learn best when they feel safe and protected. In the course of home visits, experts encourage the whole family to rely on its conditions and strengths in supporting the child to be as actively involved as possible in family life and activities.

"Parents have an undivided opinion that what matters most to them in this form of support is that they now feel they are no longer alone, that someone cares about them and that their opinions and the needs of their children matter. Only a stable family can provide good support to the child facing the challenges of development, health, growth. We urge all citizens of Belgrade to help these families put their children on the right track, by using the payment slip and donating funds to children with disabilities," said Jelena Zeganović-Jakovljević, Health and Early Childhood Development Specialist, UNICEF Serbia.

Support services in the form of early interventions are needed by 60,000 children in our country every year. UNICEF, with the support of the Ministry of Health, launched a programme supporting the health care system to promote and consolidate existing services, in cooperation with the education and social protection system, so that parents of children with disabilities do not have to go from one expert to another in search of best support for their child.

Since June, when UNICEF launched the Dad, Mum, We Are with You campaign, the funds raised were used to procure part of digital equipment and assistive didactic aids for supporting children with disabilities for developmental counselling units in Subotica, Čačak, Kraljevo and Zrenjanin, in which premises are also being refurbished to meet as much as possible the needs of families and children. By the end of the year, the equipment will be provided to 9 other towns where early intervention teams have been formed. Additionally, UNICEF has started distributing the necessary literature on nurturing parenting and strategies for supporting children with disabilities, and children's books have also been provided, as early reading with children supports brain development, as well as communication and speech skills.

Early intervention support is already provided in Subotica, Zrenjanin, Novi Sad, Šabac, Zaječar, Kraljevo, Kruševac, Novi Pazar, Prokuplje, Čačak, Sremska Mitrovica, Kragujevac, Leskovac, Niš and Belgrade in the municipalities of Rakovica, Čukarica, Zemun and Novi Beograd. The goal is to empower all 25 districts in Serbia (including Belgrade with 11 developmental counselling units) in which early intervention expert teams operate, in order to reach together each child in need of this type of support.

UNICEF invites all citizens of Belgrade to continue to foster humanity and a distinctive spirit of solidarity, and to participate, through donations to UNICEF, in creating equal opportunities for every child in our country.

Media contacts

Jadranka Milanovic
Communication Officer
UNICEF Serbia
Tel: + 381 11 3602 104
Tel: +381 63 336 283

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia

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