Paralympic athletes and Ban Soon-teak launch the new ‘It’s About Ability’ campaign television commercial24 July 2012
Montenegro (UNICEF) – During the visit of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to Montenegro, his wife Ban Soon-teak joined prominent young Paralympic athletes Marijana Goranovic and Ilija Tadic, Minister of Culture Branislav Micunovic, UNICEF Representative in Montenegro Benjamin Perks, Mayor of Cetinje Aleksandar Bogdanovic and Deputy Minister of Education and Sports Vesna Vucurovic in launching the new ‘It’s About Ability’ campaign television commercial in Cetinje, the Old Royal Capital of Montenegro on 22 July 2012.
Since September 2010, the campaign has consistently shown the vast – but often overlooked – potential of children living with disabilities.
‘Unique and wonderful abilities’
“On the one hand, there is a need to build systems to realize the rights of children with disability – systems for detection and assessment of disability, for inclusive education and social work interventions to support families of children with disability. But also, there needs to be a parallel effort to address the stigma and prejudice against children with disability and the aim of this campaign is to really show the positive face of children with disabilities and to bring them out into the open,” Mr. Perks explained.
The campaign’s commercial shines a light on what young people with disability can do if given a chance to engage in sports.
Ms. Goranovic, one of the athletes featured in the commercial, will represent Montenegro at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in September.
“Through sport, I challenge myself and improve my abilities every day,” said Mr. Tadic, the other Paralympic athlete. “Recently, I came back from a Paralympic competition in Berlin, where I was the only representative of Montenegro and I won one gold, two silver and one bronze medal. Thanks to swimming, I get to know children from all over the world and meet new friends.’’
Mr. Ban and his wife arrived in Montenegro on 22 July. Mrs. Ban joined the launch of the commercial, and congratulated Ms. Goranovic, Mr. Tadic and other athletes with disabilities on their courage, strength, commitment and achievements.
“We must address discrimination and raise public awareness so that all children are understood and accepted for their unique and wonderful abilities,” Mrs. Ban said.
Mr. Micunovic underlined the potential of culture and sports to make positive social changes. “For this reason, the role of artists and athletes is to be the avant-garde of every society, and I congratulate Marijana and Ilija for being Montenegro’s avant-garde athletes,” he said at the launch.
Disability does not define a child
Mr. Bogdanovic pointed out that Cetinje is recognized as “one of the municipalities which consistently supports young people with disability” and announced that a day care centre for children with disabilities will be established in the near future. Cetinje will become the seventh municipality to establish this service, which allows children with disabilities to live with their families rather than be institutionalized and enables them to participate in their local communities.
Mr. Perks emphasized that one of the aims of the commercial is to remind everyone that sport provides an opportunity for young people with disabilities to become known for their abilities. “Through this TV commercial, we invite all schools, sport clubs and local communities to make arrangements to support children with disabilities to access physical education and sport with their peers. Because disability does not define a child; ability and potential do,” he said.
Disability must never prevent children from fully participating in play and sports – every child has right to participate in sports on an equal basis with others. The campaign has so far positively changed the perceptions of 23 per cent of Montenegro’s citizens towards children with disabilities, according to the evaluation survey conducted in November 2011.