Measure 1.2: Cross-border initiatives targeting the exchange of people and ideas to enhance professional and civil society cooperation

Project title: WE CARE – Promotion of social inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families through joint activities in Montenegro and Serbia

Project budget:

  Project value EU contribution
Republic of Serbia € 57,467.90 € 48,841.97
Montenegro € 64,130.45 €54,472.00
TOTAL € 121,598.35 € 103,313.97

Beneficiary of funds in the Republic of Serbia: Humanitarian organisation for helping people with persons with disabilities “Dečje srce”, Belgrade
Partner: Centre for Social Work Užice
Associate: Centre for Social Work Čajetina

Beneficiary of funds in Montenegro: Centre for Social Work Nikšić
Partner: Public institution the Day Care Centre for Children with Disabilities, Nikšić

Area of implementation:
• Montenegro: Municipalities of Nikšić, Plužine and Šavnik
• Serbia: City of Užice and Municipality of Čajetina

Project duration: 17/10/2012 – 16/9/2013

Project objectives: The overall objective of the project is to promote social inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families through joint activities in Montenegro and Serbia. Specific objectives are
• To bring together the professionals to jointly participate in the development and improvement of the local community based services to persons with disabilities and their families;
• To enhance the capacities and the role of local authorities to manage community based services for persons with disabilities;
• To advance the capacity of persons with disabilities in acquiring knowledge and mastering their life-skills.

Activities and results of the project:

The first project activities had been directed towards connecting professionals in the field of social protection from partner municipalities in Serbia and Montenegro. Within their joint work, they analysed current data on persons with disabilities within the municipalities covered by the project. Thus, in the territory of Serbian municipalities, two children with disabilities has been identified who had not been in the records of the local social work centres, while a total of 60 children and adults were involved in further activities of the Project through this action. In the project area in Montenegro, interviews had been conducted with 68 families, and thus 78 people with developmental impediments were included in further project activities. These introductory analyses were used in presentations and by relevant experts to inform representatives of local governments and other relevant entities in charge of social care for people with developmental impediments about actual problems faced by this vulnerable group of people and their families. Furthermore, these presentations introduced competent institutions and establishments with a framework and opportunities for further action in relation to improving the position of people in social need and their families, and also provided a clear guideline and advice on how to organise work in the future and ensure the inclusion of these people in the daily life of local communities.

The second group of activities implemented under the Project had been directed towards developing the capacities of professionals and volunteers involved in work with children and adults with developmental disabilities. A group of seven professionals has been trained through certified courses to share their knowledge and experience in the future with other persons who professionally or voluntarily want to become involved in work with people from this vulnerable group. In this manner, more than 35 people have been trained for professional work with persons with disabilities in the cross-border project area.

By applying professional methods, experts involved in the Project and trained persons defined a general scale for assessing the ability of individual end users. Identification of individual abilities of each person with disabilities on the basis of a general scale takes into account the psychological and social abilities of a person, as well as personal interest, all in relation to an individually established diagnosis of mental illness from which he/she suffers. Based on the results obtained by this method, each family was given specific guidelines for further work on improving individual skills and abilities of a family member with a disability. This analysis was used to define the capabilities and levels of participation of individual end-users in an activity called Life Skills School.

Life Skills Schools had been organised on two occasions for groups of 30 participants from Serbia and Montenegro in the presence of experts trained during previous project activities. A number of carefully designed and consistently implemented activities, appropriate for those involved, included diverse actions with the participation of all school attendees. The positive effect of these seven-day workshops is more than obvious, as well as the positive experiences of teachers and parents, but most of all the best indicator of the success of the project is that the children who participated in these programmes could not wait for a new get together. Work on developing the capabilities of children with disabilities to independently perform certain daily and routine actions contributes to further independence of children and increases their ability to get involved and become equal members of the social communities they live in.

Part of the Project was dedicated to the implementation of a campaign among the citizens of the cross-border area on the problems of children and adults with disabilities and the necessity of involvement of all members of society in the process of integration of these persons into the life and work of the community. The comprehensive and professionally managed campaign clearly and significantly contributed to the development of awareness among citizens, which in the future shall certainly contribute to greater socialisation of people, who have, unfortunately, for a long time, been ostracised by society due to their disabilities.

Wholehearted commitment of the project team, which included competent individuals from both the partner countries, resulted in a professionally implemented Project. This is a great motivator and a good base for further joint development and implementation of the “We Care” project and similar projects in the common interest of those who need it most.


Marija Nikčević, Centre for Social Work Nikšić, educator

“Life Skills School” camp helps me a lot because we do not have these kinds of camps in Montenegro. Cooperation with colleagues is fantastic. For the first time, these children travelled outside of Montenegro and were separated from their families, only accompanied by their teachers, so this is good experience for both me and them.”

Jelica Marić, Centre for Social Work Užice, educator

“The partnership with Child’s Heart and other cross-border partners actually represents a logical sequence. Life Skills School, in fact, is a valuable tool that helps achieve maximum social inclusion of children with development disorders. ”

Radojka Koprivica, Director of the PI Day Care Centre for Children with Disabilities, Nikšić

“Social inclusion is the main objective when the issue is supporting children with disabilities. Initiating discussions on social inclusion and monitoring the position of marginalised groups is encouraging and strengthens us in our conviction that social inclusion is not a utopian projection but the interest of the community.”

Available multimedia resources
Material Description Quality
  • Life Skills School
  • Education
Good (usable for print media and web)
Video footage Montenegrin and Serbian languages


Audio material Good
Users’ Web page/ sections relating to the Project