Once again, the festive season is upon us and we find ourselves wrapping up another year. As we prepare to welcome 2018 I would like to share some thoughts with you and to extend heartfelt good wishes to you and yours.
Our journey never stops, and 2017 has been a particularly memorable and momentous year. Not only did we mark our 10th Anniversary in 2017 but it was also the year when we opened our 10th School of Life, successfully piloted our ‘Support, Not Perfection’ initiative, introduced the inaugural cohort of Djokovic Fellows – and their exciting research – to the world, launched our Global Advisory Board, and grew our Team of passionate, highly engaging individuals to more than 20. And the list goes on. I encourage you to have a look at our most recent Donors Report to get to know our work, and our family, a bit more.
We have grown and evolved much over the past 10 years and this year has been both a time for reflection and, also, for contemplation on the opportunities for the next decade – a timeframe that aligns closely with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.
In Serbia, 50% of children don’t have access to preschool education. And, that’s just one unfortunate metric out of many. Globally, 7 million children annually don’t live long enough to experience their 5th birthday – and, out of those who do, 200 million don’t reach their full developmental potential. In other words, the challenges are both local and global.
We tackle the challenges faced in Early Childhood Education and Development one step at a time. We do the best we can with the limited resources at our disposal and, in the process, we convene unconventional, yet consequential, stakeholders and collaborate with likeminded individuals and organisations in order to improve the lives of children in Serbia and across the globe.
As we look at the next 10 years, we aim to foster a regional hub of excellence for children’s Early Years in Serbia. Globally, we are going to do everything we can to ensure the SDG targets most closely aligned with Early Childhood Education and Development are achieved. Particularly, we have our eye on SDG Target 4.2, which aims to “ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education”, and we encourage you to do likewise.
Over the past two years, we have enhanced our in-house technical expertise on Early Childhood Education and Development. We have started placing a heavier emphasis on programs and themes that are more holistic, engage with parents and key influences and build-in more rigorous evaluations so we can pursue evidence-based solutions that help children and those who surround them.
In the coming few years, we know that collaboration with others will be crucial to success. We also know that no single organization, no single country, and no single expert holds the answer to the myriad of challenges facing today’s children. Therefore, we will do what we can to facilitate international exchanges, provide platforms that lead to cross-pollination of ideas, support the next generation of leaders and influencers, and create a physical presence that will act as a focal point for excellence in Early Years, where key stakeholders can come together for a common purpose.
The New Year will be very exciting. As we embark on 2018, I wish you and yours the very best for good health and an abundance of happiness. I look forward to exchanging ideas with you, enthusing you with our charitable work and, importantly, to working with you to make our world a better place for those very youngest members of society who we love so very much.
Here’s to great things in 2018 and beyond!
Novak Djokovic Foundation