Barn Raising in Indonesia?

Gotong Royong is societal concept of mutual cooperation that is practiced in several Asian countries, especially Indonesia and Malaysia. For us in the U.S., we might best understand gotong royong by viewing the Amish and their community cooperation in “Barn Raising.”

Many Americans romanticize about the “good ol’ days” when communities worked together. That is because most barn raising efforts stopped in the U.S. around the first part of the 1900s. It is only the Amish that keep the barn-raising traditional alive till this day.

Another way to view gotong royong is by viewing the work of Habitat for Humanity. This non-profit organization unites communities in cooperative efforts to construct or repair homes for the poor.

Gotong royong is still alive in Indonesia. There are still “community clean up days,” where people in a village or a given area work together to clean up their community. And there are still occasions where they will conduct a “house raising,” or some other type of cooperative construction project together.