Jelena Djokovic Held a Guest Lecture at the Faculty of Economics in Belgrade
Jelena Djokovic, director of the Novak Djokovic Foundation and editor of the Original magazine, held an interesting lecture “Managing foundations and charitable trusts” on Wednesday at the Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade.
More than 700 students listened carefully her inspiring story about different types of philanthropy, steps to start a charity and ways of their functioning, teamwork and the importance of project management.
According to Jelena, mission and clearly set goals are required to establish a non-profit organisation.
Our vision is to provide all children equal opportunities to reach their full potential in life. Why we are focused on children and early childhood development? Research has shown that if you don’t stimulate the brain enough from zero to six years of age, you are missing out on an opportunity that will never come back to you, because the brain grows exponentially until you are six. Unfortunately, many children are deprived of sensory stimulation important for their brain development. They live in families unable to offer them challenging tasks and other activities to learn through play, or their diet is poorly balanced. Therefore, they won’t have the same start in life as other children and this creates huge disparity in their future academic achievement and health. We want to change that and develop programs to meet all their needs and provide best possible conditions for them to grow up, learn, play with their friends and have a happy and normal childhood, said Jelena.
Referring to the research demonstrating that investments in early childhood education and development provide significant benefits to children, families, and society at large, and accelerate economic growth, Jelena added that NDF mission is nurturing the minds of children who would otherwise be left in the dark, through the implementation of the foundation’s projects.
Our Schools of Life,located in underdeveloped and economically challenged areas in Serbia, welcome kids to spend quality time in safe, stimulating and caring environment. We support parents as well and help them improve their parenting skills. We organize specialized training courses and workshops for teachers and advocate the importance of investing in ECE and EDC programs in their communities. Our goal is investing in early education. So far we have opened 9 Schools of Life and we are looking forward to the opening of our 10th Jubilee school in Jalovnik, said director of the Foundation.
Jelena also shared many interesting examples related to the work of the Novak Djokovic Foundation and her experiences with students, and reflected on how they managed to start and successfully run large and reputable charity in Serbia, as well as what were the best fund-raising modalities.
Charity events are an effective way to generate funds. They can attract many philanthropists worldwide, gain much needed public and media attention and raise awareness about various issues. We took full advantage of such opportunity and collected significant funds at four benefit dinners we hosted in New Jork, London and Milan, explained Jelena.
Jelena Djokovic is one of 35 guest lecturers invited to share their knowlegde and experience with students. This years the lectures are organized by the Faculty of Economics, at the same time marking its 80th anniversary.
The Novak Djokovic Foundation, with 12 employees, three consulting teams and over 50 volunteers, is dedicated to improving early childhood development and creating better opportunities for children in Serbia. Through various projects and activities the aim of the Foundation is to help and support every child in Serbia, with a special focus on kids from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, to receive quality education at an early age and empower them with resources they need to grow into productive and caring citizens of the world.
Director of the Novak Djokovic Foundation stressed that winning people’s trust is crucial to success in the field of charity work:
If the things you do are meaningful and life-changing for the entire community, your personal efforts can easily become efforts of many. NDF is a team made of incredible people, united by desire to contribute towards brighter and more promising future for all our children. Each member has completely different personality and yet they share the same passion – working hard to achieve our mission and vision. I couldn’t be more proud of them.