Together We Build Children’s Kingdom Made of Dreams and Love!
In life, to reach the top, you first have to get a good running start. However, you need solid grounds to do so. That is why supporting children at an early stage is vital. In that period their spirit is the most independent, and their hearts absorb everything with no limitations. If we give a child our firm support, he will easily get a good running start and fearlessly strive to reach the stars.
Ten years ago, we opened our first kindergarten in Serbia. I remember that day exactly – our incredible excitement and fear of whether everything will go smoothly. I remember how much attention we devoted to selecting each book, toy, wall color, and plates for children to eat. And, believe me, to this day, we build kindergartens across Serbia with the same passion and love, aware that with each of them we are altering the future of our country. For this purpose, Novak and I wanted to provide the children in Serbia with an encouraging environment and support by the people who believe they are little champions.
When we started investing in children and early childhood development, we gathered a team of people whose knowledge was a guarantee that we will change the statistics. And today it is way better: nearly 10% more children go to kindergartens compared to 10 years ago.
This is the success of all of our partners, as well as other organizations and institutions, that realize how important is to invest in children, their knowledge and their future.
We all remember severe floods that hit Serbia in 2014, damaging kindergartens and schools across Serbia. Slowly, parents started losing hope that their children would ever regain access to quality early education.
However, by donating around three million euros, our team, with the support of a large number of donors and partners, refurbished and reconstructed the majority of damaged preschool institutions, so children would not be affected by the lack of good educational program. This was a huge step forward in our mission – because we brought hope back to these communities and gave our little ones a happier childhood.
At that time, we also equipped and reconstructed the “Dečja radost” (“Children’s Joy”) kindergarten in Svilajnac municipality. Our cooperation with local authorities is an important part of our success, and we are very proud of that. The budget allocated by local authorities for the construction of kindergartens is unfortunately limited, therefore our cooperation aims at raising awareness about investing in early childhood development across Serbia.
This is why we recognized that children from the Svilajnac municipality have many other needs, and kept cooperating with the local authorities on many other projects. So far, our Foundation had invested more than EUR 470,000 into the adaptation, construction, and furnishing of preschool institutions in Svilajnac.
At the end of September, we opened our 44th kindergarten and thus provided additional capacity for 75 children from the Svilajnac municipality and nearby villages. This number may not seem promising when compared to problems which our country and the region are facing, but just imagine 75 children who received a quality education, true motivation and a stimulating environment for the development of social skills right from the start. Those are 75 children who will grow up into adults who believe in their dreams. Imagine what kind of society those people will build!
However, our focus is not only on the construction and equipment of kindergartens, but we also strive to offer children support in all segments of their development. For example, the children in Svilajnac are taught based on the most modern school programs as part of our project “Schools of Life”. Their teachers go through special training processes that teach them how to adjust their teaching methods to the interests of a child.
In our work with children, we also strive to promote values that are the basis of a healthy, creative and fulfilled life. That is why, as part of our “ABC of Better Me” project, we establish and maintain gardens together with children and their teachers, and we teach them healthy eating habits, how to grow fruits and vegetables themselves, as well as how to be in balance with nature.
And we have not forgotten those who have the most important role in a child’s upbringing – their parents. With a wish to offer their parents all the necessary support during the hardest but most beautiful task of their lives, we are implementing our “Support, Not Perfection” program, where parents, with a help of an expert and by exchanging experiences with other parents, acquire new parenting skills and knowledge.
As a mother of two, with 10 years of experience and investment through the Novak Djokovic Foundation, 44 kindergartens later… I feel so fulfilled and proud as if we created an entire kingdom for children with 44 beautiful places, where dreams and love are nurtured! And we have done just that! That is the passion and love which drives our entire team and all the people and partners who accompany us while we redefine boundaries. And we have only just begun. Our team continues to fight for children’s rights because children need strong teams to push them forward and fight for them. Thank you for your trust and sense of unity which gives us the strength to help our little ones.