Situated in the hills of Montenegro lays a little village named Pod Ostrog. While the village has only 200 residents, there are one million tourists annually visiting due to the Serbian Orthodox Monastery Ostrog. The monastery is visited (by people of all faiths) so that they can pray for their wellbeing and health.
Over the years, a lot of miracles have happened in Monastery Ostrog, however, typically tourists only stay for a few hours and go on to other areas of Montenegro because there is a lack of activities that would enable a longer vacation stay.
Thirty years ago, locals from the village, Pod Ostrog, and nearby villages (Povija, Bare Sumanovica, Bare Sobajica) worked in fields where the labors produced vegetables, fruits, jams, and handled cattle. There was a true value for their work, their families, their villages, and their land – healthy and beneficial value for all. Their products were respected in the nearby towns as judged by how quickly they were sold in the markets.
But, time marched on and changes occurred. Supermarkets started to pop up, the trains stopped running on the railroad, and it was as though everything started slowly going to sleep. Everything except the biggest businesses. Instead, they had a sense of costs and investments and customer needs and began opening upscale restaurants.
Meanwhile, down the hill from these upscale restaurants, our sleepy villages spent time dreaming and wondering. The people dreamt about stronger communities that helped each other and worked together – all striving toward the same goals. Or, perhaps this was all a memory from long ago when elders would captivate children with their stories?
…Today, memories and dreams are coming together in a form of concrete actions – actions inspired by permaculture, grassroots efforts, technology, scout ideology, and a love for nature.
For example, during this past summer, Pod Ostrog expanded their efforts to hold two eco-focused camps for young children and teens. The objective was to bring attention to the issues and challenges faced by the area ecosystems and its small communities and communicate to sustainable solutions, which are yielding results.
Through the power of modern technologies, these lessons learned are being shared and improved upon, and locals are delighted with the results. They even helped to supply local food to the camp so efforts can continue.
Driven by the passion and potential of this community, I, as the founder of Camp Pod Ostrog, wrote a green business project proposal to provide for a Fund for Active Citizenship. The proposal won first place in Montenegro as well as Best Green Business idea for all of the Balkans!
With the idea to revive the village, help the community through donations of green technologies, help locals to more easily sell their products and to preserve the old manufacturing skills, our team won USD $10,000 to make a dream come true. Idea Camp Pod Ostrog was a best green business idea on Philanthropy for Green Ideas.
Today, from this little village, the biggest Balkan Marketplace of handicrafts and art is run. www.kukica.com but also news portals, health portals and so on.
Visit Camp Pod Ostrog website to get more familiar with work behind it.