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North Macedonia President walks girl with down syndrome to school after reportedly hearing she was bullied

North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski escorted an 11-year-old girl with down syndrome to school after he heard that she was being bullied in class.

President Stevo Pendarovski held hands with Embla Ademi as they walked to her school in the western city of Gostivar. He also spoke to Embla’s parents about the challenges she and her family face on a daily basis.     

Pendarovski was pictured walking hand-in-hand with Embla on Monday after he heard that she was being bullied by classmates. “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 said.

“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.”

“It will help children like Embla, but it will also help us learn from them how to sincerely rejoice, share and be in solidarity,” the president added.

In a video shared by Pendarovski’s office, the president can be seen sitting down with Embla’s family and giving her gifts. He is also seen waving the 11-year-old off at the school gate as she walks into the building.

“We are all equal in this society. I came here to give my support and to raise awareness that inclusion is a basic principle,” the press release quoted Pendarovski as saying.

The president said he “encouraged and supported” Embla’s parents in their fight for the protection of the rights of children like their daughter. “Prejudices in that context are the main obstacle to building an equal and just society for all,” Pendarovski said, according to the press release.

He also stressed there was “a legal and moral obligation to provide inclusive education, in which the main focus is on developing skills and abilities in children with different developmental processes” and emphasized the need to raise public awareness of the issue.

North Macedonia was previously part of the now dissolved Yugoslavia.  It has a population of approximately 2 million.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH 

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: EURO NEWS

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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