Novak Đoković opened the First School of Life in Kadina Luka
Number one tennis player in the world, Novak Đoković, opened the first „School of Life“ today in Kadina Luka, a village near Ljig in Serbia. Twelve children aged 3-5 years will attend the preschool program in a renovated building of the primary school “Sava Kerković”, thanks to the project , which was funded by his Foundation. 2.7 million dinars have been invested in the reconstruction and renovation of classrooms, of which one is used by primary school kids. Futhermore, new toilets have been made, the school yard has been completely redecorated , training for teachers has been provided along with the purchase of educational material and toys for children.
Together with the Duchess of York and global Foundation ambassador Sarah Ferguson, Novak first visited children who will be the first to attend „Schools of Life“. Two teachers will work with them every day, along with parents who are more than welcomed to participate in the education of their children.
“Today we have started to achieve our goal – to provide space for all the kids in Serbia to have where to play, learn and spend quality time with teachers, and parents if they want to. We have chosen this village, Kadina Luka, because it is in the municipality of Ljig. This municipality is, unfortunately, one of the most vulnerable in Serbia. But we will not stop here. We will continue to help and secure the best conditions for children also in Raška, Kraljevo and Knić. The mission of our Foundation is to help children as much as we can. We want to provide them all that is necessary, so they can have safe future regardless to what may happen in Serbia in the following years. Education and knowledge are things that nobody can take away from them“, Novak said after the visit.
Renovation of “Sava Kerković” school started after CEO of the Foundation, Jelena Ristić, visited Ljig in April this year. The renovation lasted for three months.
The kids had prepared a small show for Novak. After this nice performance, they showed him something that delighed them most: a slide and climbers in the school yard, which they got as a part of the project. Also, one part of the school yard has been turned into an art colony on this occassion. The children with the parents did some drawings here and made a beautiful album for Đoković, as well as the first „Schools of Life“ lexicon.
Later on, the best Serbian tenniser player planted a friendship tree with the children, after which he symbolically placed the panel with the school’s name. Children were more than happy to help him in this.
“I want to thank this great teacher and all the parents for staying here day and night, helping the school to look as nice as it is today. If it hadn’t been for them, and their contribution to our project, I think we would not have felt such a warm and pleasant atmosphere in this place”, concluded Novak with a promise that he would come back again as soon as his professional obligations permit.
Foundation’s Global Fundraising Chairman, Milutin Gatsby is a longtime friend of Sarah Ferguson and upon his invitation she joined in the promotion and spreding the mission of Novak Đoković Foundation. Sarah was very happy and pleased after today’s visit.
“Many, many years ago I had a refugee camp very close and I wanted to come to Serbia and see how I can help. Long time ago I went to my friend Milutin Gatsby, when I told him: I want to go back to Serbia. Then he introduced me to Novak and Jelena. I am so pleased that I’m here to help the children, and support Novak with his dream. They have been incredible with their focus, going directly to the root of the future – that is education and primary education. You get that right and you change the whole generation.
It’s very important, so I wanted to come here today. Whatever I can do for Novak, Jelena and Foundation, and for Serbia, I will come back. Even if Novak is busy playing tennis. Maybe he might need someone to come out here and bring more energy and light. I’m here to serve the Serbian people, thanks to Novak, Jelena and Milutin Gatsby.
I am very impressed with all children’s drawings. They are very enthusiastic, so their teacher must be very good. I have a feeling that Novak and Jelena really loved her passion for the children. They were very taken when they saw she wants to do all she can. It takes a real heart to make a difference. I know that, since I’m more than 30 years in philanthropy.
“- said the Duchess of York.
The project in Kadina Luka near Ljig includes the renovation of the existing elementary school „Sava Kerković“, the better preparation of the curriculum and training courses for teachers, as well as purchasing toys and all the materials necessary to work with children in the best possible way.
We want to thank you all, especially Novak and Jelena, for everything you did to help our children. This is a big step for them. I am a mother of two kids and every day I had to take them to school which is three kilometers away. Now everything will be much easier for us since we got this renovated school which provides excellent conditions for our children to learn and develop in a normal way”, said Dragana Jakovljevic, one of the parents whose children are involved in the project “School of Life”.
The project is being implemented with professional support from the Centre for Interactive Pedagogy from Belgrade, aimed at creating better conditions for the education of children in Serbia. The project is designed especially for children from rural areas, who are not in the opportunity to go to kindergartens and preschool institutions. „Schools of Life“ will primarily be the place where children aged 3-6 years can play and learn. However, „Schools of Life“ will be also available for parents, children of early school age and the entire local community. The whole program and approach are intended also for children with disabilities as well as for other children from vulnerable groups to have a place where thay can stay and play. Beside Kadina Luka near Ljig, the project also includes renovation of schools in the city of Kraljevo and in the municipalities of Knić and Raška.