The Diaspora and Multicultural Partnerships team is pleased to highlight Olivera Jankovska, Community Engagement Associate for UNICEF USA’s Southwest Office, who recently authored her first set of books in a series entitled ‘My Homeland’. The stories are designed to help children of multicultural backgrounds appreciate and share their heritages and cultures. The series is published by Atlas Ink, a female- and minority-led business founded by Jankovska herself, which seeks to educate young readers on the values of diversity and cultural preservation.
“We are raising the next generation of peacemakers who will reduce inequality (SDG #10) and promote inclusivity,” says Jankovska. “My goal is to meet the need for expression of multicultural, immigrant and New American communities through education and storytelling. I hope that my books inspire children to be proud of their heritages and see cultural diversity as wealth.”
When Jankovska first arrived in the U.S. twelve years ago, she made a promise to preserve her family heritage. Years later, her personal need to preserve diversity extended to a societal level, starting with the youngest members of our society. Inspired by the birth of her son, Jankovska launched the first two books of her ‘My Homeland’ series, My India: A Journey of Discovery, writing one version for boys and one for girls. “I found myself putting in tremendous amounts of effort to preserve [my son’s] Macedonian and Indian heritage while he grows up in the United States. I searched for educational content for children that discussed the value of preserving identity while living in the Diaspora and found very little on the subject. There are few, if any, books on the topic of why we should cherish diverse backgrounds and how to encourage children to appreciate their culture. Hence, I focused on developing a new genre of literature that reflects and honors the lives of the Diaspora community.”
With populations becoming increasingly interconnected and diverse, children deserve to find connections with characters that look like themselves. The Diaspora and Multicultural Partnerships team at UNICEF USA commends Olivera Jankovska and the space she is creating for future generations of multicultural children to value their unique backgrounds. Our team recognizes the significance of Diaspora engagement, rooted in the belief that members of a Diaspora have a vested interest in the well-being of children in their ancestral homelands. In addition to preserving cultural heritage, we understand the critical role Diasporas have in responding to need in their community, both in the United States and in their ancestral homelands. Jankovska’s books are an inspiring example of one of the many ways we can be fostering diaspora kinship and teaching the next generation to become citizens of the globe.
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