Success stories

SMART START Serbia: Kamenica - The power of togetherness

Near Nis there is the village of Kamenica, which is known for its heroism since the time of the Turks. This village has a beautiful landscape, clean air, and a camp at Kamenicki Vis, which serves for rest and relaxation.

The camp was built in the 1960s and was used for "rest and recreation of the socialist working people". It was abandoned for many years, and since 2015 care for it was taken over by Kamenica association. This association is working on the reconstruction of the camp and its complete transformation into a regional youth camp. For over a decade, the association has been making significant efforts to renovate the local tourist offer. They cleaned all the illegal landfills, assisted in introducing a system for organized garbage collection, then restored and equipped 5 picnic sites, one of which was built on a sanitary landfill. Today these landscaped sites attract an average of 30000 nature lovers annually. Their logic of development is camping and accommodation, training, recreation, which can easily include the tour of over 20 speleological facilities in the immediate surroundings.

During the first encounter with Dejan Mitic, our host, I realized that he turned his love into a job. He, together with his colleagues, runs a youth camp at the top of the Kamenica visa, and in addition, he deals with the employment of young people from the hard-earned categories. "Fresh fruits and vegetables are prone to spoil, cheaper if sold as fruit, however, if it is processed and branded into juice, jams or marmalade, it gets on the price." So in the First Social Cooperative in Serbia they arrange jobs with young people who get a chance to develop their own products from their own fruits or vegetables.

For young entrepreneurs who want to transfer their fruits and vegetables into delicious juices, jams and spreads, Dejan and the team from Kamenica organize training in the camp. It is clear to them that young people must acquire practical knowledge and skills to be successful in their business. "We promote social values in the rural economy, through the socially responsible system of our cooperative society and with the support of socially responsible partners, young people achieve greater economic benefits than their own work in agriculture," says Dejan.

The potential of this company has been recognized by many donors, and it's beauty by many students of various faculties. You should not be surprised if you see scenes from the Kamenica Vis at a photo exhibition, because this camp was visited by masters of photography.

We recommend you to visit the Kamenički Vis and enjoy the hiking or sports tours of the beautiful nature and clean air during the summer. P. S. Take your jacket because it's always a bit cooler there. If on the way to work you see a new local brand buy from your neighbor.

You can contact the Kamenica Association at: www.kamenica.org.rs or email: info@kamenica.org.rs

Kamenica Association is the part of SMART START Project in Serbia who runs the organization Civic Initiatives https://www.gradjanske.org/