A Sign Language Center for 12.000 People with Hearing Impairments

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A Sign Language Center for 12.000 People with Hearing Impairments
USAID Serbia's Mission Director hands out award for philanthropic reporting.
USAID Serbia

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 9, 2020

Belgrade - On October 9, 2020,  the Coalition for Giving and the Serbian Philanthropy Forum marked the third National Day of Giving, with support from the United States Agency of International Development (USAID).  An accompanying month-long media campaign Serbia Without Barriers will help raise awareness about the position of people with disabilities in our society and the importance of equality.

Veran Matić, the Executive Director of the Serbian Philanthropy Forum, announced the start of the fundraising campaign with the goal to rennovate the Sign Language Center for people with hearing impairments: “In the first phase of this campaign, we have focused on raising awareness about this topic, and now it is time to start with specific actions which will contribute to the quality of life of people with disabilities, specifically to the accessibility area, since every fourth citizen in Serbia is facing accessibility issues. By empowering this Sign Language Center, now 12.000 deaf people in Serbia have access to sign language translators – we are including them into society, enabling constant communication with sign language translators and offering them a chance to receive immediate help when in need”.

Zoran Djordjevic, Minister of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, pointed out that improving the quality of life of people with disabilities has been one of the ministry's priorities from the beginning, and that, in cooperation with the umbrella organization NOOIS and other associations of people with disabilities, invest in what is identified as most needed. "We designed a project called Equal, and tried to come up with the best and most efficient solutions in that way.  We, as a ministry, started that project at the beginning of the year, and then we crossed paths with this year's project of the Serbian Philanthropic Forum and the Coalition for Charity. Many facilities and institutions throughout our country are still inaccessible, but I believe that, with your and our help, we will be able to change Serbia for the better, "said Djordjevic, adding that at the suggestion of the ministry, this year was declared the year of solidarity and cooperation.

USAID Serbia's Mission Director, Mike de la Rosa, pointed out that this year's theme of promoting accessibility for all Serbian citizens coincides with an important event in the history of civil rights in America - the United States is marking the thirtieth anniversary of the law on Americans with disabilities. "It is a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, more specifically, this law imposes an obligation on all public administration buildings to be accessible, and also requires employers to actively work on improving the future for all persons with disabilities. "Through the partnership with the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation and the members of the Coalition for Charity, and the Council for Philanthropy, we are helping the citizens of Serbia to enjoy the same freedoms and rights," said Mike de la Rosa.

As part of this year's campaign, the Coalition awarded 59 prizes to donors for assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 5 prizes to donors within the Serbia Without Barriers campaign. The coalition also awarded the media that contributed to the overall promotion of philanthropy in Serbia.

The National Day of Giving was established in 2018 by the USAID-funded Framework for Giving project, supported by the Philanthropy Council, chaired by Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, and implemented by the Coalition for Giving, led by the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation. Other Coalition members are the Trag Foundation, Catalyst Balkans, SMART Kolektiv, the Serbian Philanthropy Forum, the Responsible Business Forum, and the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.