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Let's Tear Down the Communication Wall Between the World of the Deaf and World of the Hearing

(…) Hearing people often ask me how I, as a deaf person, travel, and how I manage during these travels. I love travelling. (…) For example, when I arrived in America, they lost my suitcase at the airport. I tried to approach one of the employees, I found an officer and addressed her, and she said: “Oh, I know sign language”. She knew the American Sign Language and it was easy for the two of us to communicate, which left a strong impression on me. This didn’t happen only at the airport, but also shops, restaurants… I met a lot of people who said that they knew American Sign Language or were just learning it. This is not the case in Serbia. Here, sign language is only starting to be promoted and disseminated, and not a lot of people know it.

However, even if you do not know sign language, do not let this prevent you from approaching and communicating with a deaf person! For example, I can lip read and we can communicate that way. We can also exchange messages on paper or through cell phones. In time, you would probably get used to my voice and articulation, learn a sign or two, and in time, communication would become ever easier. The most important thing is to demolish this wall that exists in communication between the world of the deaf and the world of the hearing, and to become connected, closer to each other. (…)

Society in Serbia is still not as open, and does not know what deaf persons can do, therefore they face many barriers and a lot of prejudice (…). However, a deaf person can do anything a hearing person can, except hear. For example, my dear friend Stojan Simić received an award two days ago from the Association of Ballet Artists of Serbia. Or, for example, I am here before you today and you are listening to my presentation thanks to the engagement of sign language interpreters. I will not give up on my dream (…), and society can perhaps ask itself what it can gain by this.

Transcript of the presentation of Jelena Stupar at the 37th Belgrade Ignite event “Get Involved no. 4” (25 October 2016, Impact Hub, Belgrade)



Call for Support for Drafting the Concept “Improvement of Living Conditions of IDPs and Returnees under the Readmission Process and Support for Sustainable Return to Kosovo*“

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia wishes to provide mentorship and advisory support to local self-governments and citizen associations (with a seat in the Republic of Serbia, and active in the above local self-governments) in preparing a concept project proposal for the call “Improvement of Living Conditions of Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees under the Readmission Process in Serbia and Support for Sustainable Return to Kosovo*” (LOT 1, Improvement of Living Conditions of Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees under the Readmission Process in Serbia).

The advisory support of the Unit involves providing comments and proposals for amendments to prepared concept project proposals, as well as directing project ideas towards the most efficient and effective impact on the end beneficiaries. Unit comments will contribute to the clear formulation of needs in accordance with the call priorities and in accordance with the national strategic framework in this field.

Applications are to be submitted at the latest by 2 April 2017. Click here for more information.

Articles by Journalists who Participated in the Training on Gender Sensitive and Affirmative Media Representation of Vulnerable Groups

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia implemented a Training on Gender Sensitive and Affirmative Media Representation of Vulnerable Groups for Journalists late last year.

Training participants have written articles, with the support of the Social Inclusion Unit and its associates, noting the challenges faced by members of vulnerable groups, as well as positive examples of their achievements, solidarity and creativity.

It is with great pleasure that, during the week of people’s solidarity and combating racism and racial discrimination, we present their articles on the status of various vulnerable groups.

Presentations of the First Findings of the Surveys from the Call “Creating Educational Policies based on Evidence and Survey Results”

The Sector for Development and Higher Education of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development has organized a meeting of Ministry employees with the researchers from the call Creating Educational Policies based on Evidence and Survey Results, presenting the first findings of the survey.

This call was implemented through the cooperation of the Ministry and the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, as part of the Programme for Creating Educational Policies based on Evidence and Survey Results.

Five topics have been selected within the call, representing current issues in education in the Republic of Serbia, and the focus of the analyses is on data collected by the Ministry. The surveys were started in August last year, and the first reports are expected in late April. The results of the surveys will be presented to the general public.

Training Held for the Office for Public Investment Management on the Application of Technical Standards of Accessibility

The Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia organized a training on 27 March 2017 for engineers and architects engaged at the Office for Public Investment Management, regarding the topic of applying international and local technical standards for accessibility.

The Office for Public Investment Management is a body of the Government of the Republic of Serbia tasked with managing renewal projects and providing relief after natural and other disasters, primarily through projects for the renewal of several thousand preschool, school, healthcare, as well as social welfare institutions. The activities implemented by the Office have significant social value, therefore the training contributed to developing their knowledge in the field of accessibility.


Polish Embassy in Belgrade: Open Call “Small Grants 2017” (Deadline: 3/4/2017)
European Social Innovation Competition 2017 (Deadline: 7/4/2017)
Caritas Serbia: Call for Project Proposals for Civil Society Organizations (Deadline: 8/4/2017)
Call for Projects for the Improvement of the Living Conditions of IDPs and Returnees under the Readmission Procedure in Serbia and Support for Sustainable Return to Kosovo* (Deadline: 18/4/2017)
Call for Awarding Grants to CSOs Providing Support to Migrants (Deadline: 21/4/2017)
Call for Awarding the Annual Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Development for 2017 (Deadline: 30/4/2017)
Competition for the Best Idea in the Field of Entrepreneurship Promotion – EEPA (Deadline: 10/6/2017)
You may follow the news on open calls regularly at:


From Pilots to Good Practice – Evidence-Informed Policy Making in Serbia
Results Published of the Survey of Citizen Satisfaction with the Work of Local and State Institutions
The Network for the Support of the LGBT Community in Subotica has been Established
Publication “Giving for the General Good in Serbia” Published
EU announces winners of the Second Roma Integration Award for the Western Balkans and Turkey
Members of OSCE Mission to Serbia for Roma Inclusion Visit City Municipality of Mladenovac
Report “World’s Shame – Global Rape Epidemic: How Laws Around the World are Failing to Protect Women and Girls from Sexual Violence”
Call Issued for Film Festival “Grab This Day with Me/Grab a Film” (Deadline: 15/6/2017)
Free Programming Workshop for Women and Girls Held
You may follow the news on social inclusion and poverty reduction regularly at:


TAFILJ DUBOVA: When the Sound Stops

I grew up on Kosovo. My sister and I were left without a mother at a very young age, living with our grandma and grandpa. While other kids attended school, my sister and I had to work. My sister helped grandma with household chores, while I took care of the cows. I would listen to other children talk of their time in school, of the things they learned. I wanted to go to school, but could not. I felt helpless. There was no one in the family I could confide in.

One day I went to see the Roma representative in charge of enrolling children in school, providing equipment, books, etc. I told him of my situation. He helped me enrol in school, although grandpa complained. Later, I helped my sister enrol. Together, we completed the first four grades.

I will never forget one hurtful event that happened immediately in first grade. Our teacher came to school one morning and told all the students that someone in the class stole 500 dinars from her purse the day before. During the big break one of her colleagues came to the class. She explained that she would find the thief by going student to student, making a special sound with her mouth. The student that the sound stopped at was the thief. The sound stopped when she reached the bench my sister and I sat in. I remember how ashamed I was. Although my sister and I did not steal the money, I wanted to run from the classroom. I felt helpless and frightened. I tried, but failed to explain that we are not guilty.

The children from the class called us “GYPSIES WHO STEAL MONEY AND GOLD”. The theft was soon known throughout the school. Everyone called us “Gypsies who steal money and gold” and none of the children in the school wanted to hang out with us. It was very hard, but we did not want to give up. (…)

I came to Belgrade in 2008. I could not enrol in a regular school, enrolling instead in the night school “Branko Pešić”. In six months I passed another four grades and finally managed to complete primary school. After that, I enrolled in the “Petar Leković” secondary school, where I was the student of the generation. I have also completed extraordinary courses for two professions at the Catering-Tourism School: Cook and Culinary Technician. During secondary school I helped children to learn. I realized that I like working with children, and it is something that fulfils me, and thus I have enrolled at the Faculty for Special Education and Rehabilitation. I want to get the best education possible, to be able to continue helping children from vulnerable groups and provide them with the best quality support. I want to tell them my story and give them hope for success.

The text in its entirety can be found on the Social Inclusion Blog.

Other texts by our bloggers can be found at:


Kindergartens Are Important – Our Children Must Be Better Than Us

A pilot project was implemented in Valjevo in late 2016, organizing workshops for parents of children aged 3 to 5 years from the Roma settlement Balačka, to choose to enrol their children in the educational system as early as possible.

Milena is 18 months old and is the youngest child of mommy Julka, the nickname everyone uses for the always smiling Guler Šerifoska. She is one of the residents of the Roma settlement Balačka near Valjevo. Other than Milena, Julka has an older son Aleksa (6) and a daughter Anđela (4). Since last fall the two of them have been attending kindergarten, each in their age group, and they spend the time between 08:00 and 11:30 each day in the building attached to PS “Prota Mateja Nenadović” in Brankovina, 7 km from Balačka.

The smiling mommy Julka says that she will enrol Milena in a kindergarten as soon as she is three.

As soon as she and her husband had heard of the workshops organized in late 2016 by the association “Rom” and the City of Valjevo, they decided to participate. The preschool institution “Milica Nožica” – the closest to the settlement of Balačka, where 400 Roma persons live – organized working meetings, to show young parents the importance of early inclusion of children in the educational system. Each of the twenty workshops that involved all the parents of children enrolled in the facility were attended by 12 to 15 Roma parents. The result is six children enrolled from Balačka. Unfortunately, there were also those who gave up. (…)

According to Dejan Marinković, president of the association “Rom” and the municipal coordinator for Roma issues, the money for the project was allocated from the local action plan for children. (…) Veroljub Tešić, a pedagogic assistant, says that if a child is included into the educational system at an earlier age, it finds it easier to later scale the steps towards acquiring knowledge. (…) This claim is supported by the preschool teacher Jasmina. She says that, according to results, a girl from a Roma family is one of the best in the preschool group, and that children do not pick play friends according to the families they come from, but based on each other’s favourite games. (…)

Mommy Julka hopes that her children will complete at least primary school.

– I have primary school. Dragan attended four grades, and now, as an adult, he completed all eight grades in night school. Our children must be better than us. Only that way will they be able to find jobs and live better than us.

More success stories can be found at
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Government of the Republic of Serbia
Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit
Vlajkovićeva 10,11070 Beograd, Srbija

Phone +381 11 311 4605, +381 11 311 4798, +381 11 213 7915