Newsletter #6

April showered The Sumba Hospitality Foundation with precious gifts, 800 gifts to be precise! Earlier this month, our school came alive as 800 eager, Sumbanese students flooded our campus, all with the goal of confirming a place at our school for the next academic year, starting in July 2017.  It was a very busy week; all of the current staff alongside a selection of international friends collaborated to form 5 interview panels.  The interviewees radiated enthusiasm and a strong desire to secure one of the 48 places available; it was both an exciting and unnerving time for everybody! We couldn’t have been prouder as we watched our current students acting as perfect ambassadors for the school, ensuring everybody felt comfortable and that the event ran smoothly without the slightest problem.  It was a time for reflection; on one hand, the interviews highlighted how far our students had come in their year with us, whilst, at the same time, the event generated a whirlwind of excitement as we prepare for our second year at the school.
As some of our readers will already know, we have been working alongside Nihiwatu- a 5 star resort based on Sumba Island.  Our students have had the opportunity to complete 2-week cross-exposure programs with the hotel, enabling them to practice the skills obtained at our school on a larger scale.  Earlier this month, we welcomed James McBride- the Co-owner of the resort and Chris Bromwich- the Business Development Manager of the resort, to our school.  James was kind enough to talk to all of our students about his career and he outlined some of the key points he believed would help the students as they prepare to start their 6-month work placements.  Our students were inspired to hear from somebody who started off in a similar situation as themselves, studying at a hotel school; however, he is now a global hotelier who has led some of the world’s leading hotels during his 25-year professional career.
One of our schools leading focuses is sustainability; our campus runs off a combination of different sustainable elements: our field of solar panels, our waste-water treatment, our composting center and our bio-intensive gardens full of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables.  Of course, news spreads quickly and Malcolm, our Director of Sustainability alongside Dempta, our Chairwoman of the board, attended a Green Knowledge workshop hosted by Undana University in January, where our school attracted a lot of attention.  This month an organisation called Current Plan International-Indonesia visited our school; 60  government representatives, joined by our very own Wakil Bupati of Sumba Barat Daya, came to discuss climate change issues within the regions of Nagekeo, Belu and Lembata.  They recognized our school as an excellent example for sustainability and believe our school provides a positive model for what they are hoping to achieve in schools within the 3 regions of their project.  It was a wonderful event, where both staff and students got the chance to discuss and exchange ideas regarding sustainability, and they didn’t go away empty handed- we made sure they were given a selection of our seeds and vegetables to take home with them.
 This month, all staff and students teamed together with Loura Youth Community to do a trash walk on Pantai Mananga Aba, a beautiful beach situated 3km from our school.  The community members consisted of young people from the villages of Karuni, Ramadana, Letekonda and Loura, all with the same vision of wanting to improve the economy for local people, whilst protecting their environment and culture.   Not only did the beach clean-up consist of SHF members, the local community who weren’t associated with the Youth organisation also got involved.  After collecting the trash, our wonderful team joined the Loura Youth Community to build two temporary bamboo trash bins on the beach.  We believe that this gesture will raise awareness as talks with the government continue, in order to find a permanent solution.