Tag Archives: Belgrade

Help in Serbia

The National Organization of Persons with Disabilities of Serbia (NOOIS) has these objectives in mind when it was established in Belgrade last June 22, 2007: centralize the republic’s PWD organizations, develop partnership with the “decision-makers” in the country, and establish cooperation with other PWD organizations in Europe and the world.

Under it are “full member organizations” that have as many as 450,000 members. These are the Deaf Union of Serbia, Union of the Blind of Serbia, Muscular Dystrophy Association of Serbia, Association of Paraplegics and Quadriplegics of Serbia, Union of Associations for Assistance to Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Association of Labor Disabled Workers of Serbia, Association of Cerebral Paralysis and Polio of Serbia, Multiple Sclerosis Association of Serbia, Association for Assistance to Persons with Autism of Serbia, Association for Assistance to Persons with Down syndrome, and Center for Independent Living Serbia.

The NOOIS has helped in formulating the Law on Social Protection and its by-laws, the Law on the Use of the Serbian Sign Language, the Law on Rehabilitation and Employment, the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, and the National Disability Strategy.

It also assists the Council for Persons with Disabilities of the Republic of Serbia as well as in the Council for Persons with Disabilities of the Ombudsman’s Office in monitoring the implementation of the adopted regulations. It watches out for cases of discrimination for the Commissioner for Protection of Equality to solve as well as to the Ombudsman’s office.

Furthermore, the NOOIS has worked to inform the public of Serbia about the status and rights of PWDS in its midst through these publications: The Guide through the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, The Strategy of Development and Promotion of Socially Responsible Business in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2010-2015, The fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (proceedings),  The Proceedings of the Summer School, The Prohibition of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, General Comments 1 and 3 of the Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and project proposals in accordance with EU rules.

“Life is all about balance. Since I have only one leg, I understand that well.”  ~Sandy Fussell

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the International Labour Organization

Serbia in style

His art is not only ‘for the disabled’. He was just not able to exhibit his works for almost 12 years because he had acquired progressive multiple sclerosis when he was just about to start studying his masters at the University of Arts. He is Darko Babic, a 46-year-old painter from Pozega, Serbia.

As passionate as him is Jelena Jakonic, a 28-year-old woman struck by a subdural hemorrhage during her birth. It caused an atrophy on the optic nerve of her eye so she is almost totally blind. She is mildly retarded yet still “sees the world in colours and not in shape.”

Even though suffering from a form of muscular dystrophy, Milesa Milenkovic has persisted to author the documentaries “Between the lines” and “Moment of Joy” (2014). She is the current director of the festival, “Uhvati samnom ovaj dan” (“Seize this day with me”) and is completing a doctorate at the University of Novi Sad Center for Gender Studies at the present.

“It was strange and insidious. One day I would be able to work but the next day not. I would tire quickly for reasons that were unknown to me at that point,” Babic has been quoted saying in a report in Balkan Insight. He has just enrolled for a master’s degree in visual arts in 2001 then when he realized that “something strange was happening.”

Only until one day in 2013 was Babic given a chance to stage an exhibition by someone from his hometown. He chose to portray children with disabilities and entitled the painting displaying human endurance and dedication “Restart”.

Babic’s struggle also became the theme of a film, also called “Restart”, directed by Dejan Petrovic. But apart from the exhibition and the movie, Babic would hold painting workshops sponsored by the Association for Disabled Persons twice a week to children and youngsters between eight and 30 from Pozega. He would also do so in Arilje, where he received a similar offer from the organization Impuls.

“Situations like this make you realise that art among people with disabilities is marginalized; they do not have the same chances as other artists,” Dragana Latinovic, a visual artist and an art educator, shared about her student Jelena Jakonic in the same report. The latter, despite her medical condition, is cheerful and full of life, spending her days painting in her northern hometown of Kikinda.

To date, Jelena continues to exhibit works at shows for people with disabilities, including at the first creativity fair for the disabled, which was held in Belgrade late last year. It drew the attention of the director of the Museum of Naive and Marginal Art, Nina Krstic, who selected her works for the exhibition “Art in spiritual exile”.

“Having in mind that I am a disabled person, with no art school education, the question of my reliability was brought up – would I be able to do it?” Milenkovic also used to ask herself. “But my mentor convinced them that I am persistent, which made the filming possible,” she added in the very report.

“People with disabilities have various talents, but there are many areas where it is hard for them to achieve affirmation and become visible. This is especially the case in dramatic arts, among actors, directors, where there are no disabled people as far as I know.”

“People with disabilities are rarely shown in a positive context, and mostly as part of stories that deal with social issues. Sometimes sensational headlines glorify the courage of individuals with disabilities, but there is no continuity,” ~ Ruzica Skrbic

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of John Leslie 

Serbia, at your service!

It has been on the news lately: theatres in Serbia will no longer be off limits for the deaf. The change will happen on February 29 so that all people with auditory impairments in Serbia—in Belgrade, particularly—will be able to enjoy the plays that will be simultaneously translated into sign language in Zvezdara. “Theatre is seeing and hearing,” its artistic director was reported saying. “If you ‘turn off’ the sound, there is a far lesser impact.”

Serbia is a militarily neutral state. It has an upper-middle economy enriched by its service, industrial, and agricultural sectors. Aside from the Serbs comprising 82.86% of the country’s populace, there are 40 other nationalities living side by side in the country such as the Hungarians, Bosniaks, Roma, Yugoslavs, Croatians, Montenegrins, Albanians, Slovaks, Vlachs, Romanians, Macedonians, Bulgarians, Bunjevci, Muslims, Rusyns, Slovenes, Ukrainians, Gorani, Germans, Russians, and Czechs.

According to the last census in 2002, the Republic of Serbia has 7,498,001 inhabitants (excluding Kosovo and Metohija). It has no official figure on how many of its populace has disabilities but Serbia guarantees all of its citizens to have the same rights and duties and enjoy full ethnic equality as the other.

Proof of this is its law on professional rehabilitation and employment of persons with disabilities. Not only does it aim to promote rehabilitation and employment, it also ensures gender equality among PWDs. The details, expenses and criteria just have to be prescribed by and in the mutual agreement of the minister in charge of employment issues, minister in charge of health issues and minister in charge of pension and disability insurance issues.

“To tie a person down and leave him in bed for life is tantamount to torture.” ~Eric Rosenthal

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of UNICEF CEESIS