For Ukrainian refugees in Podgorica and Budva, as well as children and adults in Konik, learning the Montenegrin language has been made possible thanks to the project “Language as Support for the Inclusion of Vulnerable Communities in Montenegrin Society,” funded through the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation under the motto “Working Together for a Better Society.”
As part of the ongoing support provided by Help to Ukrainian refugees in Montenegro since the beginning of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, language classes are among the priority needs of these individuals who sought refuge from the war here. Currently, around 60 of them attend Montenegrin language classes in Budva and Podgorica, which will facilitate their adaptation to new circumstances.
Professor Dr. Marijana Terić, who teaches several groups of Ukrainian refugees in Podgorica, says she is satisfied with the progress they are making and the interaction she has with these people.
“Learning is a two-way process,” according to Professor Terić. “I teach them the basics of our language, and they teach me how to maintain spirit and cheerfulness in the most difficult situations and life circumstances, such as those unexpectedly faced by these people who found refuge from the war in Montenegro.”
Learning the language eases daily communication for these Ukrainians and enables many of them to assist their children, who had to enroll in local schools, which is not a small challenge.
The second group supported by this project consists of children and adults from the Roma-Egyptian community in Konik who have difficulties with knowledge of the official language. Their teacher, Ivana Vujošević, has divided them into several groups and helps children of different ages, but certainly of school age, to catch up on missed education and better master the Montenegrin language twice a week for a period of six months. This will also make it easier and faster for them to grasp the rest of the school curriculum.
The adults, divided into two groups, are also catching up on missed education due to various reasons, most commonly due to poor financial status and the inability to receive education at the appropriate time. For many of them, this is also a stepping stone that will enable them to take the Montenegrin language exam to obtain citizenship.