Newsletter #7

Over the last four months, all of our students were presented with a fantastic opportunity, an opportunity that allowed them to take the skills that they had acquired at our school and put them into practice in a 5 star, luxury resort.  Nihiwatu’s unique and wild location, situated in East Sumba, ensures it stands out from the crowd.  The opportunity our students were given was unforgettable and every two weeks, five students would embark upon their training with a thirst to learn and return to our school with endless stories and new experiences.  This month we celebrated the success and completion of the cross-exposure program; all of our students were given a certificate of excellence and a motivational talk regarding their futures, from James McBride, the Co-owner of Nihiwatu Resort.  On behalf of everybody at The Sumba Hospitality Foundation, we want to say thank you to Nihiwatu and we look forward to working with you again next year, with our second cohort of students.
Earlier this month, a fundraiser was held in Jakarta in order to raise money for a beauty and grooming workshop for our students.  Shortly after, a team consisting of Tania, Kristin, Teddy and Ana arrived in Sumba equipped with an abundance of gifts, all of them centred around lessons in hygiene and self-grooming.  It was an action-packed couple of days; Kristin and Tania delivered sessions on the importance of hygiene, especially focusing within the occupational area of hospitality, whilst Teddy and Ana concentrated more on hair and make-up. Both the boys and girls threw themselves into a number of games and challenges; there was an explosion of colour and we especially loved how our students were encouraged to freely explore their creativity.  All of the students learnt so many new skills and it was a wonderful opportunity for them to experience something that may not have ever been presented to them before.  The highlight of the training sessions was on the final day, where all of students participated in a glamorous catwalk show. It was fantastic to invite all of the staff and hotel guests to participate in the exuberant event, a beautiful display of young people filled with self-confidence.  We want to say thank you to the team and also to the people who donated during the fundraiser, you created wonderful memories for everybody involved!

This weekend was a very special weekend for us at The Sumba Hospitality Foundation; we celebrated the end of a fantastic year with the graduation of our first class of students. It was a spectacular event and creativity flowed throughout the campus, from the beautiful decorations made by our students to the joyful dance and choir performances, not forgetting the heartfelt speeches. It was a highly emotional day for everybody as we watched the 39 young men and women receive their certificates and stand proudly in front of their friends and family. The celebration clearly showed the progress and confidence of our students, however we know their journey isn’t over yet. They are about to take their first steps into the world of work as they embark on their 6-month internships. Good luck students!
Now is a time for reflecting, for reminiscing and for celebrating what a wonderful year it has been.  So much has happened; from the campus transforming from a dry, barren piece of land into a luscious, thriving oasis; from the students who came here, nervous and unaware of their potential, who are now leaving full of confidence, surpassing any expectations we ever had of them.  We are prouder than words can express; these 39 students have become part of one big family, where we have shared innumerable memories and supported one another during times of difficulty.  We have all grown together, our success mirroring that of the nature surrounding us, our gardens, the orchard, the students and staff, we have all grown stronger and stronger, therefore producing something truly inspiring.  It has been a unique journey, our first year, and one that everybody involved will never forget.