Learning Development – September 2018

Generous support has allowed us to help more Sumbanese people than ever before and launch our newest core project: Learning Development.

Learning Development

Learning Development Group Picture
For users that prefer a PDF version – it can be downloaded here

Greetings from Sumba!

We are incredibly grateful to all of you who came out last November to join our fundraiser at the Upper House. It has allowed us to help more Sumbanese people than ever before and launch our newest core project: Learning Development. We’d like to particularly recognize those who participated in the silent and open auctions during the evening, through which the we raised the funds to build the Learning Development Center and bring this dream into reality.

Thank you all for your continued support and looking forward to seeing you in Hong Kong and hopefully Sumba very soon!

Our sincerest gratitude,

Kenny Knickerbocker

General Manager


Learning Center at Hobawawi

Building of the center began back in April as we started to dig out and lay the foundations. As the foundation began to take shape, we started to collect the alang grass that we were waiting for from the June harvest along with procuring the bamboo to be used in the construction of the roof.

There are only about 3 days in the month when bamboo can be cut, otherwise if cut outside this timing, the bamboo will get infested by bugs. After the bamboo is cut, it spends an additional three weeks in a salt water soaking tank to further treat the bamboo and prevent any residual bugs from eating away at the bamboo.

From cutting, delivery and soaking, the total time took about 4 months to complete. It is a long process; however, it helps to ensure the longevity and safety of the roof construction.

In late July we had bamboo architect Widhi Nugroho from Bali come and create the final design for the roof of the learning center. Below are a couple shots of the model where you can see the entire frame work for of the roof.

The concept and design is based off of one of the most recognizable symbols in Sumba, the Mamole, a symbol of family and fertility. It will be entirely made of bamboo and alang grass, protecting the learning atrium from sun and weather exposure from the sides.

At the back of the building we have a computer lab class room and in the front, we will have a library and store room area so students can borrow books just like a normal library system and continue practicing what they are learning in class back at home.

Estimated date of completion: End October 2018.


English Class

Since mid-November 2017 we have been teaching English Language at two locations: Matanyira in Lamboya, and Kerewe Beach in Lamboya. The focus of the class is to start building the foundation of English language skills including: reading, writing, speech, and confidence building.

The goal is to inspire the children to think beyond the world they know in the village and their immediate surroundings while empowering them with the skills and knowledge that will allow them to further their education at well-established universities

English Class Matanyira

The very first location we started teaching English was at Matanyira. We started with just 39 children from the local area using one classroom that we were able to borrow from the primary school there.

Over the next several weeks, class attendance exploded and quickly out grew the space of using just one classroom. For most of 2018 we have been using a church hall every Monday and Wednesday afternoon for 3 hours each day teaching up to 200 children English language there.

Some students are coming from more than 5 kilometers, to attend class. Asty who joined us in mid-November runs the class, Sity (who teaches Health & Hygiene), and 2 additional teachers, Dhea and Helena have since been hired in anticipation of the growth of the project as it continues to develop.

We aim by May of 2019 to have a total of 10 teachers in our team that will cover at least 4 major areas including: Lamboya, Hobawawi, Rua, and Wanokaka.

English Class Matanyira

In addition to supplying all the children with books, pens and pencils, we had our own English Class bags made. Each new student who attends class regularly receives a fully loaded shoulder bag that is replenished as needed so they can bring exactly what they need to benefit the most from the class.

English Classes Mantayira

As of the 1st September, we moved back to SD Matanyira primary school and separated the students into four different levels, Rainbow (students who can’t read or write in Indonesian), Sky (beginner), Moon (intermediate), and Stars (advance), using 5 different classrooms.

This allows the teachers more one on one time with the students to help them with the concepts they are finding challenging and also to give those students who are excelling at a faster pace the opportunity to really focus on expanding their understanding of the language in more complex fashion.

English Class at Kerewe Beach

Our second location is about 45 minutes away from our office at Kerewe beach. In January, we started building a small satellite learning hut there.

Asty was teaching a small group of children English at the beach and although it is a wonderful location there was no shelter or place of protection from the weather that the children could congregate at for class.

We have since built, with the help of the local villagers there, a learning hut from coconut trees, bamboo and alang grass that is now our classroom. MAs the site of our English Class at Kerewe is more remote and in an open-air classroom setting, we have built a “Rolling Library” and filled it with books and clips boards for the children to use.

English Class at Kerewe Beach

The rolling library is kept at the school location by one of the local homestay owners and is made available to the children so they may borrow books and practice outside of the scheduled class. This is the first of a series of rolling libraries that we will make for other satellite areas as we expand our English class coverage.

Many of the students there are just beginning to learn the most basic English and as children grow their knowledge of the English Language, we will start to split them up into groups similar to the arrangement with the English Class at Matanyira.

Children learning english The Sumba Foundation learning development

Our Mission

The Sumba Foundation is deeply committed to lessening the consequences of poverty on the island of Sumba. Our aim is to provide humanitarian aid by fostering village-based projects that impact health (including access and malaria control), education, water, and income-generation, while preserving and respecting the fragile culture and traditions of the Sumbanese people.

A large part of the financial support for the foundation comes from guests of the Nihi Sumba Island. With their involvement, we can create small miracles every day.

Photography courtesy of Jason Childs, on Instagram @childsphotos