In small and remote villages, the idea of a better future is for the youth to fly to the big city and try out their luck. Bigger cities do provide more jobs, more variations and higher wages. But as this becomes a phenomenon, villages are losing more youths who essentially could improve the village and preserve its living traditions. Instead, more and more youths are building a concentrated area: the cities.
However, as cities are getting much more crowded --especially with globalisation-- opportunities are slimmer. In numbers, there are still more jobs available in big cities than villages or small towns. But, there are also more workers flowing into the cities and the industry gets really competitive. Even when one gets a job, it doesn’t guarantee that they are paid decently or even enough to support themselves and their families back home.
This way of thinking, that better opportunities are packed in big cities only, is not sustainable. Population and competition rise up, the less room for opportunity. But not yet in small, underdeveloped areas. Villages are supposed to be no longer seen as ‘hopeless’ and outdated but rather the opposite. Your hometown may just be a clean slate for you to create the opportunity.
The rural areas mostly still have strong traditional values and heritage. But their existence is deteriorating as the youths are fleeing out of their hometowns, trying so hard to learn the modern and urban ways of life.
The thing is, when rural youths fail in the big city and they go back to their hometowns, they find themselves unable to make a decent living. They fall in the grey area of not having enough skills to compete in the big city and having skills that are not suitable to survive in the village. They have been perfecting skills that won’t work in their hometowns’ characteristics.
The problem doesn’t stop in their own skills. They will also face problems such as lack of new fertile lands for cultivation, inadequate facilities, low levels of technology, and poor markets and infrastructure. But it’s not a dead end.
By no means of encouraging rural youths to exploit their lands, the youths can dig deeper into their roots. It is easier to build on something you are already familiar with than starting from scratch. Not only that building and improving our own community is morally good, but it is also sustainable. By having a strong and productive local community, members of the community can look out for each other (something the big cities rarely provide) while also being able to provide for their families’ needs.
One of our community is improving the sustainability of rural area in the eastern part of Indonesia, specifically the land of Flores. Through fashion, Copa de Flores aims to create sustainable welfare for Flores women weavers. Read their story here or check out their newest collection here.