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Montenegro Unified Club receives Champions of Solidarity Award

Six people standing behind three women seated, all wearing masks. On the wall in the background, a seal between two flags.
Unified Club Naša škola Ekonomska receiving the Champion of Solidarity Award from the Municipality of Nikšić. From left to right: Youth Leader Katarina Vuković, Member of the Award Commission of the Municipality of Nikšić, Ljubica Durutović, Unified Club members Vasilije Balić and Danko Vuković, Special Olympics volunteer Vasilije Popović and Youth Leader Milena Bojanić. In the foreground from left to right: teachers Milica Kovačević, Dijana Jokić and Branka Vukotić.

Special Olympics Montenegro’s innovative Unified Club Naša škola Ekonomska was awarded the Champion of Solidarity Award by the Municipality of Nikšić on 8 March 2021.

A young woman standing next to a young boy holding an award.
Milica Kovačević, teacher and Naša škola Ekonomska Unified Club coordinator, with Danko Vuković, athlete and Unified Club member, receiving the Champion of Solidarity Award.

Founded within the walls of secondary school JU Srednja Ekonomsko-ugostiteljska škola, the club has been one of the most active and engaging of the territory, partly thanks to the incredible dedication of Milica Kovačević, PE professor, coach and coordinator of the Naša škola Ekonomska Unified Club in Nikšić.

Kovačević is credited with inspiring 100 high school students to turn their school into a Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools®. Together students, teachers, parents and volunteers developed and took part in numerous activities, campaigns and sport events that supported the three main components of a Unified Champion School: Unified Sports, Inclusive Youth Leadership and engagement of the entire school.

Such passion and game-changing interventions did not go unnoticed and when the Municipality of Nikšić acknowledged the great work of Naša škola Ekonomska with this prestigious award, everyone involved was thrilled.

“I am very happy that our city has recognized the work, effort, energy, empathy and enthusiasm of our students with and without intellectual disabilities and that of my dear colleagues,” commented Unified Club Coordinator Milica Kovačević. “This means that we are on the right path to empowering a Unified Generation. Through humanitarian activities, we helped many people and families; and the smiles on their faces are our favorite award. We know now that we all have the ability to help our community.”

A group photo of athletes, coaches and supporters on two rows in a gym standing in front of Special Olympics banners.
Naša škola Ekonomska Unified Football Team celebrating the Spread the World campaign in 2019.

Since 2019, UNICEF Montenegro and the Ministry of Education have supported the development of Unified Sports in the country with great pride. The Unified Club Naša škola Ekonomska has been repeatedly cited as an example of good practice by the Ministry. The club’s participation in the Spread the Word campaign in 2019 is one of the most significant: with over 200 students, teachers and parents signing the pledge on just one day!

When the COVID pandemic struck earlier last year, the activities of Unified Club were focused on multiple humanitarian actions in the city, including raising funds for individuals who needed specialized medical treatment.

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