UNICEF and partners open first fully inclusive playground in Belgrade

03 June 2021
children playing on the inclusive playground
UNICEF Srbija/2021/Vas

Belgrade, 3 June 2021 – Zoran Radojicic, Mayor of the City of Belgrade, Deyana Kostadinova, UNICEF Representative in Serbia, Stefan Lazarevic, General Manager of NCR Serbia, and Zlatko Bolic, General Secretary of the Basketball Federation of Serbia, opened the first fully inclusive playground in Belgrade. The playground has been designed and equipped for children with and without disabilities to play together.

The inclusive playground in Ada Ciganlija is only the second playground in Serbia which was built through a consultative process with children and their families. It is hoped that the playground will serve as a model for future play facilities across Serbia.

“There are many children's playgrounds in Belgrade and throughout Serbia, but not many of them are fully accessible to children with disabilities, nor fully inclusive to ensure that children can spend time with other children on an equal basis in learning, interaction and fun. We are glad to now have this playground in Ada Ciganlija, a playground that is accessible and allows children with different types of physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities to have a meaningful experience of playing and learning with their peers. At the same time, parents of children with disabilities will be ready and eager to take their children to this playground and will enjoy watching them play safely with other children. This playground is a model for other playgrounds we will build in other locations, and I thank UNICEF, the NCR Foundation and the Basketball Association of Serbia, as well as our national team for their cooperation on this important initiative,” said Zoran Radojicic, Mayor of the City of Belgrade.

The inclusive playground in Belgrade has been designed to promote social integration for children with and without disabilities. It includes a swing, 2 sets of outdoor musical instruments for children with sensory disabilities, a merry-go-round, three rockers, and a playhouse.

UNICEF is supporting Serbia’s commitment to build a more inclusive society for children with disabilities.

“The inclusive playground in Ada Ciganlija, apart from being accessible and appropriate for every child, will also help children with disabilities to participate in shared activities with other children and thereby help reduce stigma and discrimination. It will also help in reducing the isolation of children with disabilities and help integrate them and their families into their communities. We have a chance to reduce unequal opportunities for children within one generation, but only if we address the underlying drivers of disadvantage, inequality, and invest in building equity! This inclusive playground is a step in the right direction,” stated Deyana Kostadinova, UNICEF Representative in Serbia.

The NCR Foundation has recognized the need to advance the social inclusion of children with disabilities and has partnered with UNICEF to model and build inclusive public playgrounds in Serbia.

“NCR is a global corporation that believes in understanding and respecting differences among all people. We are committed to being a globally inclusive company where all people are treated fairly. NCR Foundation makes philanthropic investments on NCR Corporation’s behalf in the communities in which our employees and customers live and work around the globe. We are proud to partner with UNICEF once again to provide more opportunities for children with disabilities in Serbia. Besides the playground that we are honored to open today, together with UNICEF we supported the construction of inclusive playground in Cicevac, which is the first inclusive playground in Serbia that was built as envisaged by children. We will continue to support projects that help improve the lives of children with disabilities. Because every child deserves a chance to rise above the barriers they face and achieve success,” said Stefan Lazarevic, General Manager of NCR Serbia.

Inclusive playgrounds help to integrate children with disabilities and their families into their communities. That’s why the Basketball Federation of Serbia and the national basketball team are supporting this initiative.

“There is a strong sports culture in Serbia, and it provides children with an opportunity to develop. Sports, recreation and play have endless potential in our country, as a means of development and social change, as well as for accelerating the equal progress of every child, especially for the most disadvantaged children. I am glad that the Basketball Federation of Serbia has supported UNICEF and I want to thank all the players of the national team who, through their personal engagement, contributed to ensuring that the important message about the inclusion of children and the creation of equal opportunities for play and sports and recreation can be heard,” stated Zlatko Bolic, General Secretary of the Basketball Federation of Serbia.

By equipping children of all abilities with inclusive environments and the skills to play together more independently, children will feel nurtured, encouraged, respected, and active during play - both physically and socially - thereby creating a sense of community among all children. 

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 more than 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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About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation is a leading software- and services-led enterprise provider in the financial, retail and hospitality industries. NCR is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. and has 36.000 employees globally, with around 4.000 of them working in Serbia.

About NCR Foundation

The NCR Foundation was established in 1953 to support community needs consistent with NCR’s mission. As NCR Corporation evolved into a leading software- and services led enterprise provider in the financial, retail and hospitality industries, the NCR Foundation has evolved its grant strategy to build stronger communities by investing with nonprofit partners.