My story: Svetislav Nedeljkovic--A Roma family displaced from Kosovo to Serbia

"This initiative made all the difference in our lives and we would like to see more programs like this," says Svetislav Nedeljkovic, "programs that support educationally threatened children and come up with solutions and instruments to support children from socially and economically threatened groups."

Svetislav Nedeljkovic and his family
Svetislav Nedeljkovic and his family. Aleksander is front right.
Photo: Jovana Savić

Serbia --"Like so many other families, we had to flee Kosovo in 1999," begins Svetislav Nedeljkovic. 

"When I learned about the CWS Early Childhood Education Program, I immediately enrolled my Aleksandar." 

The program is part of CWS's special focus on the needs of displaced Roma children and families in Serbia, which includes support for education, family income generation and greenhouses.

"We would never be able to afford pre-school for our son, and I wanted him to have a quality pre-school education and felt blessed, happy and grateful that this great opportunity came our way," explains Svetislav Nedeljkovic. "There are just a few educational establishments in the whole country that fight the usual institutionalized segregation of the Roma and mix Roma and non-Roma students." 

"Aleksandar was shy and reserved, always in the back, always retreating from people.  Now, he is a different kid. He is curious, more outgoing and his teacher tells us that he is one of the kids who always raise their hands first when she asks a question. 

"Well done, CWS! Now, only if Aleksandar would spend more time working with me in the greenhouse... But that’s another story!"

Media Contact:
Lesley Crosson, 212-870-2676, lcrosson@churchworldservice.org
Jan Dragin, 781-925-1526, jdragin@gis.net


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