This was important and a very successful year for NDF. During the past twelve months we have built, created, reconstructed, but we also grew as a team.
All of us learned and made progress, which will help us in the following year and all the years to come. Our Foundation in 2013 raised a lot of money that has been carefully directed. So, we can say that we have ended this year with good feelings and satisfaction.
We did a lot of things. Firstly, we opened three Schools of Life in the municipalities of Ljig, Knić and Raška, where nearly 100 children enrolled preschool programs in a very short time. We have chosen to help these poor and underdeveloped rural areas in Serbia, where the offer for children is very limited. Living conditions there are quite difficult, and preschool education suffers. This project is strategically very important for our Foundation, and therefore we will continue opening new Schools of Life in 2014.
Furthermore, “Family Outreach Worker” has been launched. This is a three year project funded by Novak Djokovic Foundation. With great efforts of UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, a brand new service in the social welfare system has been introduced in Serbia, in order to strengthen families in crisis. At the same time its goal is to reduce the risks of placement of children under three in institutions. In September, the first 53 families with 118 children started using this service, in four cities in Serbia (Belgrade, Kragujevac, Niš and Novi Sad). Service is provided by 16 professional team members, and the first results are expected in February 2014.
In 2013 we donated funds for complete reconstruction of schoolyard in special school “Anton Skala” in Belgrade, which takes care of 100 children with disabilities. NDF helped the project which won the first award in Beijing 2008, at the Mondialogo School Contest initiated by UNESCO. The result was that the kids from school got a new, modern and safe playground, with fitness sets for physical and moto-skill development and other moto-didactic sets and materials.
Our Foundation has a mission to assist organizations with the same goals and mission as ours. One of them is “Romanipen”, cultural and educational Roma organization from Kragujevac. NDF donated equipment and toys for children living in the city and suburban areas. We wanted to help children develop cognitive, graphomotor skills through play and fun, which they do not have the opportunity in everyday life. In addition, together with Roma Education Fund and city of Kragujevac, NDF organised a wonderful summer camp for 45 Roma and socially challenged kids.
This year more than 50 children aged seven to 10, from three rural primary schools, from Knic, Ljig and Raska municipalities, gathered in the first “Friendship Games” camp on Kopaonik. Novak Djokovic Foundation has organised this event wishing to provide children with opportunity to meet and socialize, acquire new skills, play and create together and to learn through numerous art and creative workshops, games and group activities. “Friendship Games” were a true success – smiles on children’s faces during the games, and tears in their eyes saying goodbye told us everything.
Novak Djokovic Foundation has donated 43 bicycles to socially disadvantaged children over 10 years old, from Vladicin Han, Surdulica, Bojnik and Lebane, which are all very poor areas in Serbia. The Foundation also provided New Year gifts to children from foster families in Belgrade.
At the end of the year, Novak Djokovic Foundation has collected more than 3,000 pieces of warm clothing and shoes within campaign “Let’s keep all children warm” which were delivered to drop-in centers from Belgrade and shelters for children in Niš to help them get through the winter.
We could not have succeeded if it hadn’t been for our charity dinners that took place in London and New York, where we raised money for our projects. Dear guests and friends of NDF – Milutin Gatsby, Rehana and Gordon Uehling, Job Brooks, Brendan Murphy, Anna Wintour, Mo Stojnovic, Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenia, Sir Richard Branson, Gerard Butler, Ronnie Wood, Erin O’Connor, Lior Suchard, Jeremy Piven, Branislav Ivanovic, Jonathan Ross, Marion Bartoli, Tim Henman, Matt Bellamy, Naomi Campbell, Adriana Lima, Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn, Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and many more helped people hear for our Foundation and become aware of the problems of early education in Serbia. NDF appreciates their help.
We also want to thank all of you who follow us on the internet. Big thanks to all our bloggers who share with us their thoughts, experiences, comments and write stories for blog.novakdjokovicfoundation.org, helping the important issues reach many people worldwide.
We want to say a big THANKS for endless support to all our partners who recognized our mission, and who is trying with us to help children from Serbia have a nice childhood and the opportunity to make all their dreams come true.
At the end, I want to thank the entire NDF team, Novak, Jelena, Dijana, Marija, Gorana, Marko, Andjelka, Bojana, Nebojsa, Jelena Vemic, Ivana, Lana, Jelena Vukajlovic, New Media Team, Vlada, Center for Interactive Pedagogy, UNICEF, all volunteers for trying to make things better for children in Serbia. Thanks for believing in their dreams. Let’s keep it that way in 2014.