World Day 2013 Message from Jasminka Petrović, children`s author from Serbia

The cultural offer for children in Serbia is hanging by the thread. It has become more and more difficult to organize children’s manifestation, create a play in a children’s theatre, publish a children’s book or a magazine, put on a radio or a TV show for children and not even to mention a film for children.  Drama, art or music pedagogues could spend hours talking about these problems. Children’s libraries and cultural centres survive only thanks to the enthusiasm of the few, and the engagement of a parent or a teacher. Why is it so when the UN Constitution for children’s rights states that children have the right to culture and to expressing their own opinions. Our task as grown-ups is to secure the involvement of children and young people in the professional cultural events and the opportunity to create. So are we up to the task?

My suggestion are words, as everything begins with a word – a speech, a story, a song, a quarrel as well as truce, a letter, a dream, reality, a world. Each word has its own colour, smell, sound, emotion, truth. Let us overwhelm the children with wise and bright words. Let those words encourage them to think, dream, fly. Apart from their meaning, words have great strength. Words can open new doors that could lead to a new love. A love of art and science, love of a place or flowers. A written word has special strength and might. Let us be cautious with words, especially when we are writing for children and youth. In our writings we should only be using the words that come from the heart as these are the ones that children understand best. A drama symphony could make children happy and important. This is the right moment for us to be up to the task. Let us offer a good word to children so that tomorrow they can be good people. Everything begins with a word.

Translated to English by Katarina Petrović