The pupils of a special education school “Milan Petrović” in Novi Sad, Serbia, have been working on their NEMESIS project ‘Let’s Play Together’. The idea of this project is to carry out a variety of activities and events in order to create spaces for people with special needs, raise awareness about their disabilities, overcome prejudices, and involve people with disabilities in local community activities.
The Milan Petrović school
Serbia is a country in transition in EU accession negotiations. Part of these negotiations involve more inclusive processes in the school system for children with disabilities. Once transition is complete, the country will adapt to all European standards and values. Currently, Serbia is working to improve these inclusive processes and the rights of children and people with disabilities.
The special school «Milan Petrović» in the city of Novi Sad is a centre in which 400 experts take care of approximately 1200 children with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, learning difficulties as well as children on the autism spectrum. The school provides an advanced system of support and services addressing the particular needs of children and adults with disabilities. While the school’s primary activity is to provide education, the centre also provides a holistic approach toward integration of people with disabilities. The numerous programs and services available include job training and health care services. Recently the school provided an apartment for four people who had been living in a home for the visually impaired, enabling them to come and live independently in Novi Sad.
‘Let’s Play Together’
The activities in this NEMESIS project, ‘Let’s Play Together’ will include cultural events and sport activities involving children and adults from the local community. One activity will be organised per month, more when possible. Most of these will be performed outside the school and will be monitored by the local media. There are efforts to involve as many children as possible in the activities, with a special emphasis on co-operation with other schools. Other participants in the project include mainstream education schools, educational faculties, medical institutions, the local community, media and sports organisations.
The first activity: a theatre workshop
The first activity that was organised as part of the project was a theatre workshop. During this, students and workers had fun acting with children from mainstream schools. The subject of the workshop was concerning everyday problems faced by children with special needs. The goal of this activity was for students from mainstream schools to develop an understanding of the issues their peers have to deal with on a regular basis. Different activities in this project will include sports events, musical events, and other activities in the local community (visits, workshops…)
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