The stories of indigenous youth in Thailand who would like to be back to their hometown.

Photo by Darin

In Thailand, there are 56 indigenous groups. Most of them live in rural areas and they do agriculture. Nowadays, the economy is not good and many people in Thailand are unemployed.

The society development impacts ethnic people’s lives, as cost of living is expensive, and the income they get from agriculture is not enough for supporting their life. This is a reason that many indigenous people in Thailand decided to come down to work in the city.

The indigenous authority says, there are 4 reasons why the indigenous people in Thailand must come down to work and find a good life in the city.

First, the economy

The indigenous people in Thailand can not reject that development will be an influence for their lives. When they do agriculture, it involves the business and economy. Some years, the price of the products farmers cultivate decreases. The government in Thailand does not have a policy for helping people who do agriculture every season, so that everyone who works in agriculture is affected, including the ethnic people too.

Second, career and job

The new generation of ethnic youth believe that education can help their family and they get a better life through education. In Thailand, many school programs have opened for the students who have limited or interrupted education. Many ethnic youth’s parents try to send their children to school. They must come down to work in the city to support their children’s education as they believe; the children will get more opportunity in their lives. Most of ethnic youth’s parents in Thailand do agriculture. The parents of the young ethnic believe the knowledge from their education may raise their family’s status. If their children have graduated from higher education, they may find income for supporting their family in the future.

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Third, cost of living

The cost of living is the fundamental need for every worker including the indigenous who are working in the city. The cost of living is very expensive although it can support an average quality of life. On the other hand, living in the city is not an easy life, as the indigenous must readjust many things such as language, communication, lifestyle, and value in a different society. This will be an obstacle to indigenous people also. The indigenous people usually use a dialect when they are in the indigenous environment. They hardly use Thai for communication if it is not necessary for them. The lifestyle for the ethnic people is very different from the people who are in the urban areas also. Coming down to work in the urban areas is a new thing for the indigenous people but it is not the last choice for them. When they work in the city for a long time, many of them start to long for life in the rural areas because it still has a lot of the resources to support themselves and their families.. It can be a reason that many indigenous would like to go back to their hometown.

Photo by Darin

Fourth, the expectation and acceptance

When they grow up in Thai society, the parents always teach them how to be a value for their family. The moral depth is one reason that will be the stereotype in their lives. So many indigenous people always think about how to help their parents when they are in their old age. They believe returning something to their parents is their responsibility and to show gratitude. On the other hand, many indigenous people need the acceptance from the society that they are living, as Thai society does not respect ethnic people. The ethnic youth who study in the urban areas have been bullied because they can not speak Thai fluently like Thai people, even though they have got Thai citizenship. One of the indigenous youth who is working in Chiang Mai, Thailand, she said “I need to prove that i have a capacity like the people who are in the urban. Many indigenous needs the acceptation because they feel injustice and unrespect from the people who are in the urban, and sometime, they get the wrong stories from the textbooks which mention for our indigenous life”.

Chapter 2 Come home and New Challenges.

Living in the urban area for a long time may not be the answer for the indigenous youth, because their hometown still has resources and the lifestyle which is suitable for them. Many indigenous youths come back to their home and start working as a farmer or merchant..

Coming back to their hometown must be driven by passion because they must know why they are back. If they do not know their goals, they may not have inspiration for their lives. Certainly, they have to readjust their life to their thoughts, their mind, their bodies, and their mental health. It is so challenging for them.

When families have a son or daughter who graduates from higher education programs, and they are going home, the villagers will start to ask them many questions. You generally meet these situations in Thai society because of high expectations. Thai people or the indigenous people in Thailand believe that the people who get well- educated should get a good career in their life.

Everything is a test from the society that indigenous youths are living in. It will be a pressure sometime for them. Sometimes, knowledge and capacity are not enough for survival in real society.

One of the indigenous said, “Because of our hometown does not get well-educated and the equality for the education, therefore growth mindset is an important and follow the development as efficiently possible.”