Family boxes for learning and play for vulnerable families

15 May 2020
family boxes
UNICEF Serbia/2020/Shubuckl

Belgrade, 15 May 2020 –  To mark the International Day of Families, UNICEF and the Red Cross of Serbia, with financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), today delivered Family boxes for learning and play to support vulnerable families during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Serbia.

UNICEF is supporting parents and caregivers to encourage enabling home environments that support the early development of children and help in overcoming feelings of isolation which have arisen during the pandemic.

Playing and learning at home are crucial for maintaining stimulating conditions for joint and creative home activities and minimizing the effects of stress on family life in times of crisis, but also now when everyday activities are slowly returning to normal.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia is supporting families in these challenging times by ensuring the needs of the most vulnerable families are addressed.

“Today, marking the International Day of Families, we are providing support to all our families, especially the most vulnerable, with the help from our partners, in a form of social solidarity and a prerogative for a peaceful society. The family is a fundamental pillar for the development of society, but today it is facing great challenges, especially in the context of the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic. Protecting both primary and secondary families remain our priority, in line with 2030 Agenda, while respecting all freedoms for each individual, as family has remained an oasis of our joy, happiness, our shelter and a place where we draw energy for all our life endeavours,” said Slavica Djukic Dejanovic, Minister without portfolio in charge of Demography and Population Policy and President of the President of the Child Rights Council.

As an integral part of UNICEF’s communication and psycho-social support activities in response to COVID-19, UNICEF has designed and procured 3,200 Family boxes for learning and play adapted to the age and skills of children (0-10 years old) and for parents to be able to play with them.

This support is essential in helping children maintain a sense of normalcy and provide parental guidance for coping with confinement and daily lives with children. Additional boxes are being distributed to children living in residential institutions and refugee and migrant centres.

“UNICEF is pleased to see that the Government is prioritizing families in these challenging times. This is a particularly poignant International Day of Families, as many struggle during the coronavirus pandemic. But it is also a time for unity, a time to bring everyone together in solidarity.  It is important to help families and children by providing them with the support they need to cope with the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic. We thank USAID for their financial contribution and the Red Cross for making the delivery possible,” said Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Representative in Serbia.

USAID has supported UNICEF Serbia with US$ 500,000 to respond to COVID-19. The funds are used for preventing human-to-human transmissions of coronavirus and mitigating the impact of the outbreak through risk communication and community engagement, provision of critical hygiene supplies, and data collection and analysis to improve the overall COVID-19 emergency response.

“As this global crisis began unfolding, we looked at where we could match our resources with the needs the Government of Serbia had identified. And, while we and our friends in the EU and elsewhere were bringing in test kits, protective equipment and other medical supplies, I am glad that UNICEF was also thinking about how such a crisis affects children, especially with schools closed down. When UNICEF approached USAID with the idea of providing Learning through Play kits for thousands of children in vulnerable families, we were more than happy to support their initiative,” said Anthony Godfrey, US Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia.

The Red Cross of Serbia is a partner of UNICEF in working to meet the needs of the children and families. 

“It is our pleasure that this year Red Cross Week is ending with this important joint venture of the Government of Serbia, USAID, UNICEF and the Red Cross od Serbia. This in practice is showing the values we are promoting through our action, the solidarity and cooperation to reach all people in need, leaving no one behind. This valuable assistance further reinforces the dedication of the Red Cross of Serbia to support the children and the families that are faced with the impact of COVID 19 to their lives by contributing to their wellbeing and resilience in this specifies context. The Red Cross of Serbia would like to thank the USAID and the UNICEF for this valuable support and partnership,” said Prof. Dr. Dragan Radovanovic, the President of the Red Cross of Serbia.

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