We told you all about our adventures with Lana and Bojan around Serbia, but we haven’t exactly told you why. When Stone & Compass first partnered with the Catics, the organization was blown away by their vision to build a sustainable hazelnut farm. A small donation from S&C was provided with the hopes of incentivizing the couple to create their project from the ground up. Three years later, as we walked through the three hectares of farmland, we saw that they did exactly this, pouring more heart and passion into the project than we could have imagined. The Serbian hazelnut farm is the perfect example of S&C’ sustainable partnership model. Their vision turned to reality because S&C believed in them and encouraged the use of effort, patience, and love to create the outcome. They had to work for the results; nothing was simply handed to them. The love that the Catics put into their farm was overwhelmingly beautiful. Bojan spoke about the unexpected impact the farm has had on his family. In a unique way, it brought them closer together. The collective hard work has strengthened their bonds and instilled hope for a beautiful future sharing the farm with their children, grand children, and great grandchildren.
Lana and Bojan have inspiring plans for their farm. Not only will the farm provide a sustainable lifestyle for the family, but the surplus will be sold for a profit and the revenue will be directed straight back to the community. Bojan suggested various directions that the funds could be pointed to, such as renovating the village’s run down school, repainting town buildings, or landscaping the sidewalks and parks. Furthermore, the couple is in the process of building a large structure behind their house to host U.S. students during service learning trips. These trips will enrich students in more ways than one. Students will be immersed in Serbian culture visiting the beautiful countryside and historical cities while providing service to improve the local community. S&C believes that intercultural immersion for youth is key in building youth’s confidence and capacity to become global-minded change agents inspiring others to follow in their footsteps. The selflessness that Lana and Bojan embody exemplifies exactly what S&C strives for.
We feel incredibly lucky to have been able to see the progress that Lana and Bojan have made the short time that we have been partnered with them. More than this, we feel inspired. The days that we spent with Lana and Bojan rejuvenated our faith in the process of connecting, educating, and inspiring one another to create tangible, positive changes in the lives of others.