“Delivering a lecture to the scholarship holders of the Hastor Foundation, rather than just ordinary students, is comparable to talking to Serena Williams, Ronaldo or Messi rather than just any athlete…“ – or in other words, you’ll succeed because you want it bad, everything else is just an excuse you tell to yourself

The monthly meeting of the college student scholarship holders of the Hastor Foundation is always held in the second week of the respective month. It was no different last Saturday, on the 13th of October, 2018. In the Main Assembly Hall of the ASA Prevent Group, more than 200 students had the opportunity to acquire new skills and gain additional knowledge from a renowned entrepreneur, marketing expert and motivational speaker – Kemal H. Balihodzic. He is the Founder and CEO of UpTrend Marketing Solutions, whose offices are located in London and Sarajevo, as well as the author of “Born to Succeed – From Giving to Drawing Applause” (Rodjeni za uspjeh – od aplaudera do aplauza) which was reprinted several times.

This month’s speaker started his lecture with a truly inspirational and uplifting speech, with those present actively participating. The Foundation’s scholarship holders had the opportunity to learn about motivation as a truly integral part of achieving one’s goals, but also about how important it is to have one’s priorities sorted out and to put forth maximum effort in order to achieve what we want. Hard work and maximum effort makes everything possible, but with the awareness that no success can be achieved overnight. Only continuous learning and hard work can result in success.

By reflecting on the episodes from his own life, Balihodzic presented his own path, thorny, as he himself describes it, to success. As a person who lost his father early on, he had to put in additional effort, to study and struggle more, in order to achieve the goals he set for himself. In addition, he married young, when he was twenty years old, and so worked several jobs in order to support his family. The time and effort spent on his personal improvement also helped teach him discipline and perseverance. He points out that by perceiving and labeling certain students as “gifted”, the educational system is making a mistake. He is of the opinion that no individual has such great advantage. Each individual has a certain potential or capacity which simply needs to be developed and brought to the surface and in each individual his or her energy and body are intertwined with one enduring component – hard work.

Nowadays, we often witness how the educational system is killing the creativity of young people and confining them to well-known patterns of thinking. Being members of a younger generation, we need to fight against this in every way possible. Knowledge is a person’s best bet and the most worthwhile investment he or she can make. It is the principle which drives the Hastor Foundation, the largest organization of its kind, regardless of the area we take into account. Through continuous learning, hard work and commitment to one’s ideals, each and every individual can cross the boundary where the ordinary ends and extraordinary begins.

This meeting was very special and tinged with various emotions because those scholarship holders who have completed their college education said their farewells to the Hastor Foundation, while on the other hand freshmen students were at a monthly meeting for the first time. Regardless whether their college education began or ended, both groups of students acquired new knowledge in Sarajevo and made wonderful memories.

Students, who have attended the Foundation’s monthly meetings for the last time, at least as scholarship holders, have shared their impressions about the years they spent as a part of this family. All of them agreed that from the moment they became its scholarship holder, the Foundation provided them with enormous support, both financial and emotional. All of them felt happy that they played a part in this wonderful story and that their role does not end here. And truly, how wouldn’t they? Each young person who becomes a part of this large family will always carry it in his or her heart.

Kemal Balihodzic’s lecture was marked by enthusiasm and his earnest wish to successfully impart all his experience and knowledge on the students who were presents, students of the Hastor Foundation.

All scholarship holders make up a community which stretches across more than 150 municipalities in BiH. Two thousand hearts beat together, in harmony, proud of the fact that they are there for each other, that all of them are different and yet a part of the whole – of the Hastor Foundation. It is undisputable that after twelve years of continuous work, the Hastor Foundation grew into a place where new unbreakable bonds are forged every day and the scholarship holders show this the most because they stress constantly that the Foundation is a part of them, a part of their identities that they cherish and of which they are proud.

Razim Medinic