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When 11-Yr-Old With Down Syndrome Gets Bullied, The President Of Her Country Steps In!

President Stevo Pendarovski

In life, sometimes it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.

Embla Ademi lives with her family in North Macedonia, a country in southeastern Europe that used to be a part of Yugoslavia. The 11-year-old attends elementary school in the city of Gostivar, but recently she’s been having a tough time because of bullies who pick on her for having Down syndrome.

It’s unclear how it happened, but somehow Embla’s bullying situation reached the desk of North Macedonia’s highest leader! When President Stevo Pendarovski heard about what was happening at Embla’s school, he decided to find a visible way to promote inclusion and equality not just in schools, but nationwide.

In a statement, the North Macedonian government explained, “The President said that the behavior of those who endanger children’s rights is unacceptable, especially when it comes to children with atypical development. They should not only enjoy the rights they deserve, but also feel equal and welcome in the school desks and schoolyard. It is our obligation, as a state, but also as individuals, and the key element in this common mission is empathy.”

First, President Pendarovski visited with Embla and her family to learn about the challenges they face every day. They brainstormed solutions and ideas to make life easier for people with Down syndrome, and he gave the child a few small gifts.

Then, the president and her family walked Embla to school. He proudly escorted Embla to the building and waved as she went inside. He said he wanted to make a public spectacle of supporting Embla because it will not only help her with her bullying issue, but it could also help their society as a whole become more accepting of others.

“We are all equal in this society. I came here to give my support and to raise awareness that inclusion is a basic principle,” he stated, adding that Embla’s parents have his full support for equal rights. “Prejudices in that context are the main obstacle to building an equal and just society for all.”

President Pendarovski calls it “a legal and moral obligation to provide inclusive education.” He hopes making a public show of support for Embla will ease tensions and encourage others to follow his lead and end prejudicial treatment.

Embla, the most important person in your country has your back – and so do we! Share this story to take his message of inclusion even further.

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