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“Since the Youth Hub started, everything has changed” - Amalia’s story

As the eldest of six siblings, 21-year-old Amalia Tutthairra has always had a strong sense of duty. For years, she dreamed of being a policewoman so she could help to protect her community. When she failed the entrance exam, she didn’t give up hope–but instead got involved in her village Youth Hub and discovered a new sense of purpose and togetherness.

Having put her dreams of joining the police on hold, Amalia returned to live in her village, Ampekale in Maros, South Sulawesi, where she continued her studies. In 2020, she joined the village Youth Hub, which was set up by the EYW project with support from local government, to enable young people to develop entrepreneurship skills.

The youth set up two small businesses processing oyster sticks and shredded milkfish, which are plentiful in this coastal area. Before long, Amalia found herself getting involved and learning new skills in cooking, packaging and marketing. She and her friends now sell the Youth Hub products in food and gift shops around Marosas well as through social media, and reinvest the profits in production. While she doesn’t see herself as an entrepreneur, Amalia was surprised by how much she enjoyed the business activities, saying: “Even though it is work, it doesn’t feel like it!”

Bringing the community together again

While she still dreams of a career in the police or army, Amalia is very glad of the experience and knowledge she has gained at the Hub. She says that the benefits of the Youth Hub go far beyond teaching young people new skills–and have actually helped to reunite the community: “Since the Youth Hub started, everything has changed. In the past, young people rarely greeted each other. Usually, they just went to college or work, then went home. Now, they are getting to know each other again because of the activities at the Youth Hub.” She believes that the Youth Hub has helped her village restore a sense of community and togetherness which had been lost to the age of technology, social media and screen time. As a result, Amalia feels reconnected with her neighbours and old school friends.

Time well spent

Amalia is grateful to the Youth Hub and proud of her part in it because she believes this togetherness will be a driver of positive change in her village. What’s more, the business activities area promising breakthrough for the whole village. Many residents cultivate oysters and milkfish for their own consumption, but they now appreciate their business potential–and the young people are very happy to have shown them this. Amalia has her heart set on getting a steady job so she can support her brothers and sisters. She now plans to register as the Army Women Corps in Maros and to take the civil servant test. This ambitious young woman recognizes the value of her time with the project in helping her take a step closer to her dream, saying, “I feel that the leadership training in soft skills will be useful for me when I register [with the army].” She concludes: “At the Youth Hub, sharing stories unites the thoughts of many heads–these will continue to grow into new ideas over time.”

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