With its unspoiled natural landscape, world-renowned Ikat textiles, and one of the last remaining authentic animist cultures in the world, Sumba has much to offer to tourists. The local culture and traditions of the Sumbanese are still very much alive while they also have an innate friendliness towards foreigners.
However, Sumba has a dark side as well. Due to its distance from the capital, the relatively low population density (800,000 inhabitants), and the dry climate, Sumba is part of one of the poorest regions in Indonesia. Just over half of Sumbanese children attend school, and only about half of them will finish their basic education. Because of the rampant poverty, malnutrition is a hindrance to young Sumbanese with regard to their education and workability.
Luckily, over the last five years, Sumba has seen slight development. Some signs of progress are higher quality roads, a new airport with several daily flights to Bali, Kupang, and Ende, and electricity available in more and more areas close to the cities.
Get to know Sumba better in our video: