Life is full of wonderful moments, which should be photographed, or told, for everyone’s inspiration and, in this case, to be repeated. And one of these wonderful moments has occurred in early February 2022. And this is how we tell the story.
His Excellency Mr. Stevo Pendarovski, President of the Republic of North Macedonia, accompanied an 11-year-old girl with Down syndrome; a victim of bullying at her school by some of her classmates and their parents.
Pendarovski accompanied Embla to school after learning that she had been bullied because of her handicap, including by the parents of her classmates who accused the girl of being aggressive. The girl had been punished by some teachers to remain learning alone and in subhuman conditions, in a room without sufficient heating. Expert psychologists concluded in a report that Embla did not show any aggressive characteristics.
According to an official communication from the department of the Presidency of the Macedonian government, the president said “the behavior of those who threaten the rights of children is unacceptable, especially when we are talking about children with atypical development. So, children should not only be able to enjoy the rights they deserve, but they should also be able to feel equal in the classroom and playground environment. This is our obligation as a state, but it is also our obligation as individuals, and a key element of this shared mission is empathy.”
The President’s office expressed in its press release that the President wishes that “this gesture will help children like Embla, who in turn can teach society how to be happy, to share and to live solidarity. The President went on to say that “In this society we are all equal. I have come to support and raise our awareness that inclusion is a fundamental principle”.
The portal “Dobrenoviny.sk” reflected the conviction of the President of the Government that prejudices are a major obstacle to building a just society for all. The president stated that there is a legal and moral obligation to provide an inclusive education in which the fundamental effort is to develop the necessary skills and competencies in children in all types of developmental processes.. The parents had gone so far as to request the expulsion of the little girl from the center. The basis for everything is empathy, concluded the Macedonian government’s statement.