In 2017, we had our first fundraiser in Asia—a wonderful evening filled with sharing stories of Sumba and raising support for our Learning Development Center.
Immediately upon our return to Sumba, we launched our community English program, welcoming 39 children at a classroom in a local primary school in Lamboya. Over the following months, this group of children increased from 39 to almost 400 students.
In May, we began construction of the Learning Development Center and continued to grow our education team and to expand to new locations to teach more children the English language and to inspire them to dream bigger for the future.
We’re excited to announce on June 17, 2019, we opened our flagship Learning Development Center in Hobawawi, where we are now teaching 300 students English in a classroom three times per week. Our classrooms use technology such as tablets preloaded with DuoLingo and computers to expand their knowledge.
The opening on June 17, 2019 was a huge success. Over 100 people attended, including government officials and government teachers from Wanokaka and Lamboya, Parliament, the Bupati Office, Nihi Sumba, and the Sumba Hospitality Foundation.
Two of our English class students in the Star (advance) class gave a wonderful speech to the crowd. Zimry (13 years old) spoke in English and Lynn (11 years old) translated, showing everyone in attendance that with the right attitude and approach, next generation has great reason for hope.
To date we now have over 2,000 students registered in our English program, and we work with seven local government schools (elementary, middle, and high school) in addition to the three locations we teach at in the afternoon. Our eight teachers teach 21 different classes each week.
Proficiency of the English language will serve students well who are looking to further their education, as it will give them a more competitive edge for applications and scholarships at universities and vocational schools. For those students who will not continue their education, it will provide them be considered for hospitality and tourism jobs where speaking English well is essential.