Novak Djokovic Foundation donated 250 square meters of artificial grass to the “Djurdjevak” preschool in the Belgrade municipality of Cukarica.
Our Foundation, led by our founders and National Director Maja Kremic, recognized the importance of investing in preschool yards long ago. This donation, worth 363.000 Serbian dinars (3.000 Euros), is particular in the sense that it is primarily intended for children as young as 12 months old, as they haven’t had the adequate conditions to play outside which is why they’ve had to stay inside all the time. The story you are about to hear is yet another indicator that we“”the grassroots people, the stakeholders“”should be the initiators of change or, in Gandhi’s words, be the change we want to see in the world.
Not that long ago, parents whose kids attend “Djurdjevak” (Lily of the valley in English) gathered to clean up and adjust one part of the schoolyard so as to make it accessible for the youngest ones. What they didn’t expect was a surprisingly massive turnout””more than 30 of them joined! Not before they rolled up their sleeves and arranged the yard did they realize the potential that it actually has and that is meant to be enjoyed by their kids!
And that’s where we come in. Since our Foundation has already collaborated with preschools in Cukarica, to our mutual pleasure, all it took was a couple of phone calls to present this well-thought and noble idea, and there we are! The grass is on its way to Belgrade, we’re on our way to preschool. Already there. Meeting parents, picking chestnuts like little squirrels that we are, chasing rainbow-colored tires around the playground with the little ones. Playing, smiling, and making the rain clouds go away.
Mirjana Cankovic, assistant director of Cukarica Preschool is thanking our Foundation for the donation and believes that artificial grass was a great idea in the first place, as it will make children’s stay in the preschool more enjoyable and is quite easy to maintain on top of that:
“This preschool enrols more than 170 children and 250m2 is a big patch where every child will be able to play. Every little thing that we add to the preschool is more than meaningful as it enhances the children experience – from receiving a quality education to setting themselves free in a relaxing and welcoming environment.”
The parents also shared their impressions with us. The first one to do it was Marija Colic, a teacher by vocation and a mom of three kids including the golden-haired Petar, one of the youngest “lilies of the valley”:
“As parents, we are grateful for this donation that will allow the youngest children to play safely outside, which up to now has been possible only for the kids above three years of age. Being able to engage in such modes of play where they can to discover uninterruptedly is more than precious. Hence, this entire project of schoolyard’s adaptation will be very beneficial in the long run.”
Radoje Djokovic agrees with Ms. Colic’s words:
“I have a very strong connection with this preschool and, having recognized their needs after a conversation with fellow parents, we came to a conclusion that the artificial grass setup is the safest choice, especially for the youngest children. We are indebted to the Novak Djokovic Foundation for listening to our needs and helping this project see the light of day.“
We can’t wait for the grass to be set up so that we could visit the kiddos and play with them in their new schoolyard!
Within the Project of Inclusive Preschool Education where, together with the World Bank and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, Novak Djokovic Foundation adapts and equips the premises in public facilities used for providing preschool education, Preschool institution “Cukarica” will have another 13 rooms equipped with furniture and didactic material.