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.