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A Mother's Story

A mother of a Special Olympics athlete describes how her son has become a local sports hero in his hometown of Kovin, Serbia.

A Local Sports Hero

Dusan with his Football Gold Medal at the World Summer Games 2011 in Athens

Special Olympics family members were at the center of discussions during a series of seminars that were held as part of the “Inclusion for All” project in Serbia and Montenegro and supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Seminar participants listened intently as family members speak eloquently about how Special Olympics has changed their children’s lives. Participants learn that the most mundane of acts, like riding on a public bus, can be a life lesson in defining devotion, purpose and hope.

Gold Medal Winner

Mrs. Jasmina Djakov describes to seminar participants about the impact Special Olympics has had on her son Dusan. Photo courtesy of Special Olympics Serbia  

The seminar in Pancevo, Serbia held on 23-24 February, 2013 saw Mrs. Jasmina Djakov, tell her story about her son Dusan, aged 18, who has been a Special Olympics athlete for four years. Mrs. Djakov said: “My son Dusan is a good student and we have always been very proud of him. But to others, he was just another student from a special school.” Mrs. Djakov, who is a widow, and her only child live in the small town of Kovin, about 25 km from Pancevo where Dusan attends school. School starts at 07.30 so Mrs. Djakov and her son, who does not speak, get up very early every week day and take a 40-minute bus ride to Pancevo. While Dusan is at school, Mrs. Djakov goes to the market and visits relatives and friends until his classes are finished at 13.00. Then they ride the bus home. Special Olympics activities are held in the afternoons and weekends so the pair returns to Pancevo on the bus. “The moment that Dusan joined our local Special Olympics club, his life changed,” said Mrs. Djakov. “Dusan started to bring medals back to our small community. In July 2011 he came home with a World Games gold medal in football. My son is the first person from our community to achieve such sporting success,” she said.

“Dusan is no longer just a good student from a special school. He is is a local sports hero that everybody respects and looks up to. That is what Special Olympics has done for him and me,” Mrs. Djakov said.