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Toko J Lokal Menyapa in Tabanan

As we reflect on CirclesUBI's activities this past year, one initiative stood out as embodying our mission to strengthen communities through unconditional basic income. In the village of Tabanan, Bali, the CirclesUBI team collaborated with the local women's association Sekar Sandat PKK to create a small shop called Toko J Lokal Menyapa. The shop became a communal hub that stimulated economic exchange, reduced waste, and brought people together.

Many communities today face problems related to isolation and perceived lack of economic opportunities. While technology connects us in some ways, it has actually left many feeling disconnected from those around them. Participation in traditional social institutions that once fostered neighborhood ties have been declining. At the same time, the increasing sense of limited economic prospects breeds pessimism about the future.

Toko J Lokal sought to reignite the communal spirit while generating new local economic linkages within the community. CircleUBI users were encouraged to trade 50 Circles points plus IDR 3,000 (around €0.18) for a 500 ml bottle of homemade liquid laundry detergent. This was offered during Sekar Sandat's communal work gatherings every other Sunday.

On the surface, a small soap shop may seem trivial. But these efforts served multiple valuable purposes. Firstly, it encouraged the habit of exchanging CirclesUBI points locally. People discovered they could redeem their unconditional basic income for practical necessities like detergent. Secondly, it reduced plastic waste by allowing bottle reuse and refilling. And thirdly, it united community members around an activity supporting the local economy and community ties.

As residents shopped and mingled at Toko J Lokal on Sundays, social bonds grew. The communal atmosphere was lifted through small meaningful interactions around a shared goal. Local women also earned supplementary income by producing and selling the detergent soap. And reusing containers meant less plastic pollution in the environment and landfills.

The success of Toko J Lokal exemplifies what we hope to reproduce across Indonesia and beyond. When people receive a basic income with no strings attached, they utilize it in ways that connect them more profoundly with their communities. Moving forward, we aim to create similar initiatives that nourish social unity, stimulate economic participation, and promote sustainability.

Our learnings from Toko J Lokal will guide us as the CirclesUBI project enters the next phase of growth and social impact. During the pioneering pilot challenges like ensuring steady detergent supply and quality, and responding to increasing store traffic were well noted. But the appreciation we received from Tabanan's residents highlighted the immense value of grounding our efforts locally. Their stories of how Toko J Lokal touched their lives certainly stay with us!

Ultimately, the CirclesUBI mission is to empower communities to shape their own development. Toko J Lokal signifies one small step toward realizing this vision. There is still much work to be done, but we are heartened by what people can achieve when united behind a common purpose. Universal basic income is about acknowledging our shared humanity. When basic needs are met, people are empowered to connect with those around them to build the lives they desire. Toko J Lokal has shown us the change that becomes possible when we believe in human potential.

We invite you to take inspiration from the community in Tabanan. Start your own local initiatives that bring people together, support livelihoods, and build resilience. Together, we can create grassroots change that helps communities thrive.


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