UNICEF Ambassador Djokovic Visits Serbian Kindergarten
by ATP Staff|
New UNICEF Ambassador Novak Djokovic paid a visit Monday to a kindergarten in Smederevo, Serbia, where he spent time interacting with the children between the ages of three and five.
“I was on the field visit to pre-school ‘Pcelica’ (‘Little Bee’) in Smederevo as ambassador for UNICEF for early childhood education,” the World No. 1 shared on Facebook and Twitter. “I had a lot of fun with kids, they were so eager to play and ask questions and show their little talents.
“I hope to see more of these kind of institutions which integrate children from all areas, and children with disabilities and Roma children. Every child deserves the opportunity to grow in a clean, healthy environment where they can play and learn and reach their potential.”
Djokovic brought school materials as gifts for the children, posed for photographs and praised the staff for their efforts at the inclusive pre-school, attended by the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in Serbia, including children with developmental disorders and disabilities and those living in Roma settlements.
The ATP World Tour No. 1 was recently named a National Ambassador for UNICEF in Serbia. Through his role, Djokovic will serve as an advocate for children’s rights and early childhood education.
“Through my work with UNICEF, I want to help Serbian children realise their dreams,” Djokovic said upon accepting the position in late August. “I want to help them understand that they have rights and that those rights should be protected. I want them to believe that anything is possible.”
Rima Salah, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, applauded the appointment: “Novak Djokovic is a natural fit for UNICEF. He cares deeply about the welfare of Serbian children, bringing the same passion and enthusiasm for his career on the court to addressing issues affecting children.”
Expanding early education to include all children has been recognised as a key priority in Serbia. Less than half of all children under the age of five attend early education programs, dropping to one in 10 for those from vulnerable groups.