We are pleased to share the news that our project “Steps to Independence: Supporting Children in Institutional Care for Successful Education and Career Paths” was declared one of the winners of the “Call for education 2023” competition by the UniCredit Foundation. This exceptional initiative, which supported 18 projects of non-profit organizations with a total of almost 3,250,000 euros, aims to improve the education of high school students in 10 different countries where UniCredit Group operates.
The project “Friends of Children of Serbia” is aimed at supporting children in institutional care, often victims of violence, abuse, human trafficking, forced begging or those who, due to difficult socio-economic conditions, are involved in legal violations. Through direct educational initiatives, promotion of higher education and teaching employability skills, we want to provide support to children and young people aged 11 to 19, in institutional accommodation, on their way to independence, and to institutions to improve their potential and conditions for learning.
This project has wider goals than education itself, our intention is to strengthen the capacity of staff of state care institutions, employment agencies (national and private), social workers (including students) and companies. We want to build a bridge between this vulnerable group of young people and potential employers, thus creating a sustainable connection that will contribute to their future.
The UniCredit Foundation recognized the importance of our project and provided us with support that will have a long-term impact on the lives of the young people we support. We will continue with dedication and enthusiasm, working to achieve the goals of this project and create positive changes in the lives of children who are most at risk.
UniCredit Foundation, the corporate foundation of UniCredit Group, launched the “Call for Education” competition in June. The latest initiative to combat educational inequality is aimed at tackling early school leaving, encouraging higher education and providing young people with the right skills to enter the labor market.
A total of 175 candidates were submitted and reviewed by a specially formed Evaluation Committee, which selected 18 winning initiatives in 10 countries where UniCredit Group operates: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Silvia Cappellini, General Manager of the UniCredit Foundation, said:
“Giving our youth across Europe the power to unlock their full potential takes more than just financing. It means fostering equal educational opportunities for them where they are in Europe. This entails forging partnerships with educational institutions and local entities to co-create tailored programs that address the unique needs of the communities we serve. UniCredit’s pan-European presence gives the UniCredit Foundation the unique opportunity, through the Group’s network of banks, to empower disadvantaged youth across the continent and help create a brighter future for Europe’s next generation. I am immensely pleased with the outcomes of this initiative, and I look forward to seeing how these 18 projects make an impact for young people in their respective regions.”
Nikola Vuletić, President of the Executive Board of UniCredit Bank Srbija pointed out: “Our commitment to the initiatives of the UniCredit Foundation has a deep and long-lasting impact on the lives of children throughout Serbia. Dropping out of school and lack of access to quality education are a serious challenge for many young people, and through the projects of our bank and the UniCredit Foundation, we not only provide support to children in the moments of their greatest challenges, but also build the foundations for their future. Our vision is not only to invest in education, but to create an environment that motivates children to stay in school, to develop their potential and become leaders in their communities. We all have the opportunity to shape the future together, and investing in education is the most reliable way to achieve this. I am proud and it gives me great pleasure to say that one of the organizations from Serbia has been recognized through this UniCredit Foundation project. I am truly grateful for the dedication and effort that goes into these projects. With joint forces, we can bring positive changes in the lives of children and give them the opportunity to realize their dreams”.
Support for this project is not only a recognition of the Friends of the Children of Serbia and our team, but also a confirmation that joint effort and dedication can bring real changes in the community. We are greatfull to the UniCredit Foundation for their support and trust.