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Novak and Jelena Djokovic Opened our 46th Preschool in Serbia

by , Posted on 20th May 2021

Thanks to the successful fundraising campaign Season of Giving, our Foundation has invested EUR 76.000 to give children from a small village of Ljubis near the Zlatibor mountain, access to quality early education.

When on a gloomy day, instead of rain, you see children’s smiles, then you realize that nothing we do for children is in vain. Guided by the idea that quality early education can change the lives of children – and thus the whole community – for the better, our team confidently strives towards achieving our mission so that every child in Serbia has access to preschool education.

The village of Ljubis is a small and beautiful place in the municipality of Cajetina, 30 kilometers from the Zlatibor mountain. It is the birthplace of great military leaders, academics, but also of our favourite children’s poet – Ljubivoje Rsumovic. At the beginning of this year, together we successfully completed the Season of Giving fundraising campaign, during which we raised funds for the opening of preschools in the villages of Ljubis and Vajska. Over 1,000 individuals and companies from more than 30 countries around the world supported this initiative with their donations. In the end, our founders, Jelena and Novak Djokovic, matched the final amount with their personal funds.

By opening the first preschool in the village of Ljubis, which is part of the preschool institution “Joy” from the municipality of Cajetina, the Foundation has provided children the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills in a quality environment. Wanting to take part in the children’s smiles and joy, the founders of this Foundation, Jelena and Novak Djokovic, attended the opening of this preschool, together with National Director Maja Kremic, Mayor of the Municipality of Cajetina Milan Stamatovic, director of the preschool institution Jelena Mitrasinovic Brasanac as well as poet Ljubivoje Rsumovic.

“I am extremely happy that we can make this small place shine so brightly once again. I am glad that children will enjoy growing up and playing in nature, on their own land, among their friends. As a child, I myself spent a lot of time on mountain Kopaonik and I am aware of the beauty of such a childhood,” said our co-founder, Novak Djokovic.

Small children of great potential live in the village of Ljubis. The mission of the Foundation is to provide all children with the opportunity to develop from an early age and thus use their talents in the best possible way. The lack of preschools in Ljubis was one of the reasons why its population was on the decline. Due to the impossibility of children being taken care of during the day, their parents had to make compromises, so only one member per family could work, which, in turn, led to a worse economic situation and living conditions. We want to support children in villages and thus directly help parents so that they would not be forced to gravitate towards cities.

On this occasion, our co-founder and global CEO, Jelena Djokovic said: “Our wish and goal is that, by 2030, every child in Serbia has access to preschool education, whether they are a resident of a village or a city. We are extremely grateful to the donors and partners who accompany us on this journey because, when together, we can always do more. In this story, whose mission is children’s wellbeing, we all win. Our team, together with the preschool in Ljubis, has so far opened and reconstructed 46 preschools across the country. There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but when our hearts guide our work, success is guaranteed.”

The value of investing in children’s preschool education and the project in Ljubis was also recognised by our partners, led by Adora Living Solutions d.o.o and  21st Century Zlatibor project. The opening was also supported by Baumit Serbia d.o.o, Toza Markovic d.o.o kao i Nopal Lux d.o.o.

The opening of the new preschool was also attended by the Mayor of the Municipality of Cajetina Milan Stamatovic: “Children’s happy laughter will, starting today, resound in the newly built preschool in Ljubiš, and that will be another contribution to the development of the Municipality of Čajetina, but also an additional motivation for young couples with children to stay in their home villages. And, who knows, maybe it will be reason enough for some other couples to imagine their future on the territory of Zlatibor and its villages.”

Speaking about the importance of giving children the opportunity to attend preschool in their birthplace and how that encourages young parents to stay and live in the countryside, our National Director Maja Kremic said: “It is extremely important to support every child’s dream and give them the opportunity to grow up with their peers, in their home environment. The Foundation invested EUR 106 hundred in the reconstruction and equipping of this preschool, in cooperation with the local authorities, of which the direct donation of the Foundation amounted to EUR 76.000″, said Maja Kremic.

On this occasion, a part of the existing primary school in Ljubis was reconstructed and equipped to be a proper preschool. A large daycare room, wardrobe and children’s toilet were built, and the kitchen was specially adapted and equipped with professional equipment so that it could be used both by the preschool and the school for the preparation of meals.

According to the director of the preschool institution, Jelena Mitrasinovic Brasanac, the environment in which Ljubis is located is very challenging for the establishment of preschool groups due to the disunity of the locals. “For that reason, we would not have embarked on this campaign without the support of the Foundation. If it weren’t for this additional incentive, children would not have the opportunity for quality development”.

This joyful event would not be the same without the Serbian children’s poet Ljubivoje Rsumovic. “If we teach children to think, we will have smart people. If we teach children to think, we will have hardworking people. If we teach them to read books, we will have wise people. If we teach them to play, we will have creative people. If we teach them to love, we will have good and happy people. In this noble endeavor, the Novak Djokovic Foundation helps us twofold! First, by creating conditions for young married couples to start their own families, and second, by enriching Serbia (and my own birthplace Ljubis) with preschools where we will start teaching everything to our youngest generations,” said this great poet of ours.

Ljubivoje entertained the children by reciting his poems and retelling his “Tips and Tricks.” Everyone enjoyed it, and the slightly older guests even remembered some beautiful childhood moments.

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