A year when a normal everyday life stopped. When everyone stayed at their homes and the streets were left empty. A year that transformed everything. Including our work.
The global health crisis caused by Covid-19 introduced many new obstacles on the path to our mission. The social distancing prevented us from continuing with our in-person and infrastructural work. The majority of our programs and projects initiated in 2019 had to be put on hold. Nevertheless, we turned 2020 into a year of resilience, teamwork and solidarity. Our team adapted quickly and found new ways to provide support to children, teachers and parents. We focused on digitalizing our programs and transforming our usual in-person workshops, lessons and training into online educational material.
It was clear that the battle against COVID was not going to be won in a day. Serbia’s healthcare system was under great pressure. And we found it was our duty to help it any way we can. Therefore, throughout 2020 we donated medical equipment that would contribute to the better function of the healthcare institutions even after the stabilization of the current pandemic.
Last year especially showed us the strength of the community we built together. All our achievements were possible thanks to your trust and belief in our work. That’s why we wanted to look back once more at how far we’ve come. Enjoy our 2020 in review!
New preschools are underway
We started 2020 in the most beautiful way – by opening our 13th School of Life in the village of Ljukovo. Before our investment, this area had immense problems with the preschools’ capacities. More than 200 children were waiting to be enrolled. However, by the opening of the School of Life, we provided additional 96 places for children aged 3 to 6 and significantly improved the early childhood education conditions in the village of Ljukovo and all surrounding places.
All reconstruction works on other preschools were underway, and it seemed as if every project would be finished in no time. However, in March, Serbia pronounced lockdown and we had to put all our projects on hold for the safety of our team, local partners, parents and teachers. But, we didn’t let that demotivate us and decided to push forward. After a couple of months and with a gradual release of the safety measures, our team managed to continue the works without endangering any of our partners.
Despite all the obstacles, in 2021 we will open three new preschools and provide quality preschool education for more than 180 children!
Support in the fight against COVID-19
Immediately after the COVID outbreak, our founders Novak and Jelena Djokovic donated one million euros to help Serbia’s healthcare system fight this crisis. The entire Foundation’s team ensured that the necessary equipment arrived as soon as possible, that it was of high quality and that it fulfilled the needs of healthcare institutions throughout Serbia.
In 2020 we donated 17 ventilators, 54 clinical monitors, 100,000 health packages to all first graders in Serbia, 2 high-quality CT sceners, mobile quipment for desinfection of surfaces, syringe pumps and more than EUR 40,000 to the General hospital of Novi Pazar.
Our expeditious and collaborative method of providing help was also recognized and supported by corporate partners and generous individuals with USD 200,000 worth of donations.
“žIs it safe to take my child to a park?” “žHow can I help my child with online learning?” “žWhat are some fun activities for a toddler during a lockdown?” Every day we received questions like this from worried parents that were facing new challenges that came with the COVID outbreak. Supporting parents was always a crucial part of our mission, therefore we recognized that it was important to adapt our work and to provide them with the help they needed in this new situation.
With that idea in mind, our co-founder and global director, Jelena Djokovic, and psychologist and psychotherapist, Smiljana Grujic, launched weekly Zoom webinars on various parenting topics. The webinars were attended by as many as 3,000 people who, together with Jelena and Smiljana, went through the best solutions to the most common parental doubts. Such great attendance and feedback inspired us to initiate the Novak Djokovic Foundation Online Academy that will be a platform with even more educational material for parents and teachers. We can’t wait to share it with you!
Expanding and transforming our parents’ support
We have also focused on finding new ways to continue with our “Support, not perfection” program for parents and caregivers while respecting all new security measures. So, we moved the usual in-person workshops to Zoom sessions and Viber/What’s Up personalized support. Until now the program supported almost 2,000 parents and caregivers.
However”žSupport, not perfection” did not only adapt but transformed as well!
Thanks to our long-term partners, Generali Osiguranje Srbija and The Human Safety Net, our team will expand the program to 15 cities in Serbia and, in close cooperation with the national and local government, open dedicated parents’ centers. The centers will be a resource for all families and professionals dedicated to ECD. This way, in the next three years, we will support another 2,200 parents and almost 4,400 children.
Closing the year in style and ready for a fresh new beginning
We entered 2021 with the traditional “žSeason of Giving” fundraising campaign. The story of Ljubis and Vajska traveled the world and inspired many people to join us in our efforts to open two new preschools in Serbia. In the end, we once again showed how one’s little act of kindness can make a big difference. Thanks to the support of over 1000 people from more than 30 countries, we have successfully collected 108 thousand euros for the opening of preschools in the villages of Vajska and Ljubis. Our founders, Novak and Jelena Djokovic, matched the collected amount, which will make 216,000 euros available for enriching the childhood of 105 children from these areas.
In spite of all challenges in 2020, you chose to be a part of our NDF family. To grow as a parent and learn about early childhood development, to support opening of new preschools, to spread our stories and to support children’s dreams with your donations. With such love and trust, we believe that 2021 will be shining!