During our research on Sumba, Indonesia we had the opportunity to interview someone from the Sumba Hospitality Foundation. In this blog for my Beautiful People section, I will share the story of the foundation, what they do for the people of Sumba and the environment and my experience visiting the foundation.
The Sumba Hospitality Foundation (SHF) is based on the Indonesian island called Sumba since 2016. This island is located in the South of Indonesia and is rather underdeveloped. It gets a small amount of tourists every year in comparison to mass tourism destination Bali. Then again this is also the strength and beauty of Sumba, being a rough diamond in an area full of mass tourism. If you want to read more about Sumba and my personal highlights click here.
Founded by a Belgian woman with love for Asia, the SHF is set to provide a future to underprivileged youth of Sumba by educating them about the hospitality sector, sustainable tourism, environmental awareness and permaculture farming. The students of the hotel school get housing, meals and healthcare together with their education. After the theoretical and practical lessons at the school, the students do an internship at a 5 star hotel or restaurant to turn those skills into practice. One of these resorts is Nihi Sumba which is rewarded as world’s best resort for the last couple of years. By providing education on sustainable development, the foundation hopes Sumba to be an example of a sustainable tourism destination, where the local community is included in economic welfare and decision making and the environment is well taken care off.
The whole campus, including the school, resort, restaurants etc. are built from bamboo as it is a very sustainable and durable product. Also, the students get taught about farming and growing herbs, fruits and vegetables that are used in the restaurant and bar. By using solar panels for energy and a water treatment system, the campus is able to be fully self-sufficient.
As part of the lessons, the students have to work in the hotel or restaurant on the campus. This hotel is also built from sustainable products and provides a great learning space for the students. Here they can transform the theory learned in the classroom into practice.
During our research on Sumba we got the opportunity to attend a day at the school. We had to share our research design and they got to share their knowledge about their island. It was an amazing day meeting all these beautiful people and hearing their stories. We also got a tour of the whole ground and they showed us their farm, classrooms etc. It is amazing how in such a short period of time, they created this foundation and are able to help the students with their future.
The practices at the school are a great example of how a destination should develop. The students learn about how precious their island is and how they should treat it in order to benefit from it in a responsible way. I think the Sumba Hospitality Foundation is a beautiful example of sustainable development. Making sure the local community benefits whilst taking good care of the environment.