Director of the American United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power and former NBA basketball player and national team member Vlade Divac, founder of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, attended the event “Basketball in wheelchairs and the bazaar of entrepreneurship” organized in Belgrade on May 9. In Dynamic Sport & Health club, they met with the players of the Crvena Zvezda basketball club in the “Singidunum” wheelchair, where they were cheered on by the American ambassador Christopher Hill.  

Divac and Power, with the support of former basketball player and coach Vladimir Kuzmanović, tried their hand at this sport and skillfully played a small game in wheelchairs, and together with the players sent a clear message that with the support of the team and cooperation, barriers can be overcome. 

“I just arrived in Serbia and I am overjoyed to have met Vlade and his wonderful wife Ana, who created this Foundation, which has been a loyal partner of USAID for years. I love that you are both investing resources, but also that you are trying to make your voice heard and try to make concrete legal changes. I am impressed to see here how you work with people with disabilities and how you promote humanitarianism in Serbia. I’m proud!” – said Samantha Power, Director of USAID. 

Recalling the tragedy that befell Serbia at the beginning of the month when children were killed in the elementary school “Vladislav Ribnikar”, Divac expressed his condolences to all the families who lost their loved ones in the tragedies in Serbia: 

“We have a sad week behind us. It is time when we should all be together and I thank USAID, which has helped our foundation and our country in the past thirty years, both financially and logistically. They are our greatest and most deserving partners, and a big thank you to them and the American people for the help they have given us. Of course, I sincerely hope that we will achieve good cooperation in the future as well”, said Vlade Divac. 

On the “margins”, talks were held with representatives of the social enterprises “Naša kuća”, “Liceulice” and “Evo ruke” that employ people with disabilities, on the subject of the challenges that people with disabilities face during employment, all as part of USAID’s four-year project “Job Fit” which is implemented by the Youth with Disabilities Forum in cooperation with the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation, Caritas Serbia, the Center for Independent Living of Persons with disabilities of Serbia and the Smart Kolektiv. 

The discussion was joined by the Ambassador of the United States in Belgrade, Christopher R. Hill, and the director of the USAID mission in Serbia, Brooke Aysham, where together with the basketball players, they discussed the position of persons with disabilities on the labor market, obstacles to employment, as well as the current USAID project, which is precisely aimed at the economic empowerment of persons with disabilities in Serbia.