The President of Republic of North Macedonia escorted an 11-year-old girl with down syndrome to class after hearing that she was bullied in school. The head of state is being hailed for taking this big step towards inclusivity.
After President Stevo Pendarovski heard that 11-year-old Embla Ademi, who lives in Gostivar, was facing discrimination at her school, he met the child to lend support. Pendarovski also accompanied little Embla to her primary school ‘Edinstvo’.
The president spoke to the girl’s family to understand the day-to-day challenges they face, including bullying, and encouraged them “in their fight for the protection of the rights of children”, the statement added.
“Embla’s case reminds us of the prejudices we live with and the need for greater protection and care for children with disabilities,” Macedonian President wrote while sharing a video of their meeting on Instagram.
Pendarovski also stressed the importance of complying with the legal provisions of inclusion in educational institutions, emphasising on social responsibility. “The President said that the behavior of those who endanger children’s rights is unacceptable, especially when it comes to children with atypical development,” the statement noted.
Underlining that no child should be left behind, he asserted that children with special needs should not only enjoy the rights they deserve, but also feel equal and welcome in their places of learning.
“It is our obligation, as a state, but also as individuals, and the key element in this common mission is empathy. It will help children like Embla, but it will also help us learn from them how to sincerely rejoice, share and be in solidarity,” Pendarovski was quoted.
“Prejudices in that context are the main obstacle to building an equal and just society for all,” he said while talking to the local press. As the photos and videos of the President with the little girl went viral across social media sites, it garnered lots of praise from all quarters.