As you may have noticed by now, we at Collective Responsibility have a special place in our hearts for migrants. Be it through our reports, blog posts, or profiles, we are devoted to understanding this population of people in large part because “they” are the mega trend that will test the limits of our systems and it is “they” that we need to be planning for when we look at how cities are built, food is growth, healthcare and education systems are transformed, and on consumption of everything.
Through much of our research, and reporting, one of the common themes that we look at is why are these individuals drawn to the city. With the questions often very much about the practical day to day, however in reviewing some of our earliest work, we came across a number of interviews about the sacrifices they were making for the next generation.
A generation whose hope and opportunities are the catalyst for those who uproot themselves at great cost and effort, move to a city, and look past the challenges that they are presented with.
For them, there is a greater cause, which came through clearly a few years back when we asked 50 people: “Would you want your child to have this job?”
Ms. Li, Cigarette Vendor
No. My husband and I have this job/career because we lack qualified education background. Letting them step on our old roads is the last thing I want to do. To my 14-year-old girl, I don’t have so many strings attached and just want her to live a happy life; as to my boy, I hope he can be a government official someday, a big name who has power (laugh).
Ms. Gu, Fruit Stall Owner in Anhui
Absolutely not. Being your own boss is great but she will be so tired if she actually runs a fruit stall. I hope my daughter can go to the college or university, find a nice decent job and become a white-collar.
Ms. Zhu, Reporter
I think it totally depends on your personal interests, if you are really interested in this area, I believe there are lots of things you can do and make some achievements, if you are not interested in this, you can gain very little things by doing this.
Mr. & Mrs. Liu, Recyclers
No way. We are so proud of them! My son is now studying at the university in Henan, and my little girl is a senior in high school in Shanghai. She is good at English and would like to apply for Shanghai International Studies University next year. They definitely will have brighter future. I’m glad our life here can make some contributions to their life.
Where these quotes are particularly interesting, is that these are the insights that stakeholders need to create better policy, better labor practices, and begin educating around for improvements in civil society, labor productivity, and urban planning.
These are real people, whose own hopes and dreams for the next generation are THE opportunity for engagement. Engagement that for some will reduce employee turnover, while for others will be a determining factor for whether or not their cities population reaches a million people… or remains a ghost city.