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When our Founder, Mrs. Inge de Lathauwer, visited Sumba in 2013, she was fascinated by its raw beauty, which is so different of everything else she had seen on her extensive travels around the world. At the same time, she was also saddened that a large part of the Islands population of over 800.000 was living in poor conditions.
In Sumba Barat Daya, one of the 4 main regions of Sumba, out of the local total population of 364.770 people, 83.300 lived on an average income of Rp. 248.099, which is 19 USD per month. The majority of Sumbanese people are farmers, but current inefficient farming techniques continue to contribute to low yields and a perpetuating cycle of poverty. The local communities are still ruled by tribal and territorial thinking, evaluating people future on which cast they come from.
The nonexistence of vocational education puts the youth at a disadvantage and currently forces them to seek employment away from family and community. If the family can afford it, they send one of their children to Bali to earn money to support a family of 6 to 8 siblings.
With only two flights a day (50 min. to Bali), Sumba is yet it is almost untouched by tourism, and who comes here finds beautiful beaches and rolling green hills. The daily life of the local people is still influenced by the ancestral animistic religion that is called Marapu, which is only practised here and in Flores. The official religion is Christianity, and the people live by the traditions of both.
Inge heard also that a lot of land was already sold to foreign owners, often to the detriment of the previous local owners. Inge realized that tourism could be a driving force for economic development and she bought a plot of 5.5 hectar land, located app. 3.5 km from Mananga Aba Beach and founded the “Sumba Hospitality Foundation”.
The Foundation has three objectives:
• To build a sustainable model for responsible tourism development, while preserving the cultural history of the Sumbanese people.
• To provide a much-needed vocational education for 48 underprivileged students and give them the opportunity of a new career.
• To pioneer sustainable permaculture techniques in Sumba, create environmental awareness and improve the living standards of the entire community.
The Sumba Hospitality Foundation believes that all young people should get an opportunity in life to grow and make a better future for themselves. Sumba is a beautiful, friendly island with a highly distinctive culture, which is slowly developing into a tourism destination. We believe that by offering vocational education in hospitality, we can provide young Sumbanese people with the skills they need to create employment opportunities on the island.
Now we train every Year 48 students over 9-months in over 1300 hours of theoretical and practical training hours, to develop the knowledge, skills and attitude/behaviour required to find meaningful employment in Bali’s competitive 4 to 5-star hospitality industry.
While the traditional Indonesian school system often only imparts knowledge; our aim is to endow students with functional/technical competencies and “Life or Soft skills”, but also to develop their inherit higher order thinking. They will learn knowledge in order to solve problems, generate ideas and innovate. The curriculum addresses three areas across all departments:
• the development of the minimal competencies for Employability for all students after Graduation in their chosen course.
• the development of the advanced competencies for certain students, in order to develop their full potential in a short time.
• the development of a pipeline of Sumbanese teachers who remain at the school after Graduation and get experience as “Assistant Teachers” in order to become full time Teachers in the near future and create therefore employment opportunities.
The curriculum currently offers courses for these areas:
English for Hotel Operations, Front Office, Housekeeping, Food Production (Culinary), Food and Beverage Services (Restaurant/Bar, Computer Skills and General/Soft Skills (Grooming, Hygiene, Communication, Environmental awareness etc.