Successful voluntourism story in Macedonia: Live like a local, eat like a local and help to the locals

We want to conclude January with a powerful and very motivational story about Borce and Simona.




These two young people have finished their studies in Skopje like most of the students from Macedonia but, instead of continuing the city life, which is more accepted for their generation, they followed one unusual desire that was stronger than anything – to invest in a village. They are more than sure that the village they invested in will develop into an eco-tourism destination in the near future.



This village is called Star Istevnik, which is not very familiar even for the locals. Like most of the villages in Macedonia, Star Istevnik is facing sudden migration to the cities. It is located twenty kilometres from the town of Delchevo, in the beautiful Pijanec area which abounds in nature. A beautiful river Bregalnica that flows near the village on one side and the mountain Vlain on the other side are making this village even more special place to be. This peaceful location, was another reason why many young people were attracted to, especially with the arrival of Borce and Simona here.

Their idea was to invest in something unusual – an old family house that was built exclusively from natural materials. Surely it needed renovation, but to keep up with their agenda, the reconstruction was only possible by using materials such as earth, sand, lime and straw found locally.

Many young volunteers from Spain, France and Slovenia recently joined the restoration of the home in order to get acquainted with the way this house was built. A great sign of voluntourism where people get engaged with personal experiences.



The story would not be complete if the yard of the house was not planted with numerous local ecological fruits, which grow in this region. Ecological construction is only supplemented by organic food production.

Our local heroes shared the key moment for their decision to spend their lives here. What attracted them the most was the huge potential of outdoor activities. The terrain of this village is hilly, with an altitude of 800 meters. Great place to enjoy the summer and winter days. Pure mountain drinking water and fresh air are the most important priorities. Two years later, they say they are really proud of what they have achieved.

But they don`t stop there. Their goal is to keep the tradition and to share the knowledge that the local population has in the Pijanec region. The villages here for them are the real potential for developing eco-tourism. For that reason, they have recently established an eco-centre named “Natural Perspective” which aims to promote what the region has to offer.

Borce and Simona are people who expect tourists from all over the world. They hope that the interest of tourists to study the construction of this house, to taste local organic food and to enjoy the sounds of silence will entice them to visit their home.



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