Belgrade, 6 December 2018 – Several hundred children and youth with different types of developmental difficulties and disabilities have had the opportunity today to enjoy a sport day with their friends and to have tryouts in the games without borders, basketball, volleyball, badminton, golf, goalball, racing, rowing, table tennis, darts and other sports.
Serbian trophy winning Paralympic athletes joined the pre-school and primary school children. Drazenko Mitrovic, one of the most successful Paralympians, ceremoniously opened the Games.
"This sports hall and the City of Belgrade are the centres of the world. From this place, we are together we are sending an encouraging message to all children to engage in sports, and we are thanking all those who have enabled the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in sports. We are glad that the support that began l last year is still ongoing and expanding in all segments. Next year it will be through the construction of inclusive children's playgrounds, and then it will expand even more, even wider and more beautiful", said Velimir Knezevic, President of the Belgrade Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities, addressing the guests.
"Sport for All", a unique event which gathers children with and without disabilities, aims to promote and encourage sports, physical culture and inclusive approach as an important approach to societal values of a community.
"Too often children and youth with disabilities have been set apart and excluded. Too often they are overlooked or systematically excluded from physical activities. I want to believe that this is not due to intentional efforts, but due to the lack of understanding of the abilities of these children and young people. ’Sport for all’ initiative has provided a possibility to these children and young people to demonstrate their potentials, promote inclusion and open new paths of opportunity," said Severine Leonardi, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Serbia.
She thanked the citizens of Serbia and companies that have helped with the implementation of this project.
Representatives of the City of Belgrade Secretariat and Council for Social Protection, Natasa Stanisavljevic and Elena Bilic, as well as the member of the City of Belgrade Sports Council, Filip Marjanovic, also addressed the gathering.
The valuable cooperation of the Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities, the City of Belgrade, the Secretariat for Sports and Youth and the City of Belgrade Secretariat for Social Protection and UNICEF has already brought positive changes in Belgrade, thanks to the financial support of the NCR Foundation.
The programme has been extended to the municipalities and cities of Cicevac, Velika Plana, Subotica, Priboj, Novi Sad and Aleksinac, thanks to the generous donations by Vojvodjanska Bank, Telenor, Telenor Bank and the citizens of Serbia.
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