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Ibu Inge’s Miracle in West Sumba

Sumba Hospitality Foundation Graduates its Second Class of Hospitality Professions
The Sumba Hospitality Foundation has graduated its second class of talented young men and women from the Island of Sumba to assume meaningful roles in the Indonesian hotel and restaurant industry.

Located on Jalan Mananga Aba, in the Village of Karunai, West Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, the amazing environmentally sustainable campus is situated just 10-kilometers from Tambaloka, the capital of West Sumba.

The school is now in the final selection of students who undergo a rigorous selection and assessment process for the nearly 50 students from the 4 regions of Sumba who will form the third class of young people to undergo an 11-month in-residence training program provided by the Foundation and a practical training period at leading hotels and restaurants in Bali.

Built on a large, once-arid piece of land using natural and bamboo structures and concepts inspired by John Hardy’s Legendary Green School in Bali, the large campus has become a green oasis fed by permaculture methods that now manages to provide much of the food eaten by the students and faculty. A 1,000 square meters solar-panel garden powers the living, study and kitchen operations. The campus has a large numbeer of separate bamboo structures that house classrooms, dormitories, faculty housing, administrative areas, and a working laboratory villa complex and restaurant for regular campus visitors.


The spacious five bamboo and thatch-roof classrooms have high ceilings and no-walls to create education areas that are both pleasing to the eye and comfortable for the intensive program of courses that constitute daily student life.

Nine traditionally elegant villas units have recently been added together with a swimming pool that can be booked by visitors or used by visiting lecturers, while providing students to practice their newly acquired food and beverage, housekeeping and hotel administration skills.


Construction began on thee campus covering 6-hectares in 2015 with the first class of students matriculating in May 2016. Founded and largely funded by an inspired Belgium woman Inge De Lathauwer, a dedicated local and international team of administrators and educators shared Inge’s dream and dedication to use tourism education in order to break the cycle of poverty that grips Sumba


With the second graduation ceremony held on Saturday, May 26, 2018, 88 students from Sumba have undergone a life-changing transformation, acquiring an intensive education followed by an internship period at leading hotels and restaurants in Bali. Students and their proud families, teachers and ranking officials of East Nusa Tenggara and Sumba, attended Saturday’s commencement ceremony. Two of this year’s graduates, Arini Ratu Eda and Ima Artika Rambu Mai, demonstrated the quality of the intensive language training provided over the past year by serving as masters of ceremonies for the day, alternating effortlessly between Indonesian and English.

Later, two other students, Prinorius Yewangu from Central Sumba and Adri Sesfo from East Sumba, made brief speeches giving witness  that when they joined the school last year they spoke no English at all, but because of the dedicated work of their teachers, were speaking to a large group in that language less than one year later. Throughout the ceremony other student issued their love and thanks to their teacher and fellow graduates.


Underlining the School’s strong commitment to the people and culture of Sumba, all the instructors attending the graduation ceremony were dressed in traditional West Sumba costumes.

A total of 12 full-time teachers hailing from Indonesia and overseas locations, that include the USA, Australia, Belgium, Holland, Singapore, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Costa Rica provide the education for 47 students selected based on a strict screening process that evaluates attitude, academic aptitude and a personal commitment to become world-class professionals in the international hospitality industry.

Speaking on behalf of the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, the provincial head of tourism, Marius Ardu Jelamu, issued his thanks to Inge De Lathauwer, her family and the teachers who have created an international standard tourism school in Sumba. Pointing out how Sumba was now the second most popular tourism destination in the province after Komodo. Marius said the students graduating from the school would become the professionals filling key roles in Sumba, NTT and Indonesian tourism in the future.

Continuing, Marius said: “The Island of Sumba has the Hotel Nihiwatu as the best hotel in the World, strong cultural traditions and excellent beaches.” He described how the Sumba Hospitality Foundation carefully selected only students from poor families able to demonstrate great aptitude to receive a cost free education in hospitality. Adding: “I think we need to give our support to Ibu Inge, her friends and the teachers from around the world. I think this school is amazing and I declare, on behalf of the Governor, our appreciation to Ibu Inge and her team.”

In response, Inge De Lathauwer issued her thanks to the parents of the students who allowed the Sumba Hospitality Foundation to educate their children. She said their children were now forever a part of the Sumba Hospitality Foundation family.

Describing the process undergone by students at Sumba Hospitality Foundation, Headmistress and Foundation Board Member Redempta Tetebato said that several hundred applicants are carefully reviewed before the final 48-50 students are selected for the 17-month program of study comprised of 10 months of intensive schooling and 7 months of job-training at one of Bali’s leading tourism establishments. Written and oral tests are administered and each student’s family visited to prioritize that only highly motivated and needy students with great learning aptitude are allowed to join the school.

Students are required to pay only Rp. 1.5 million for their program of education, payable in four installments, to access the 17 month program that provides tuition, housing, food, uniforms, study materials, insurance, transportation to and from Bali for the paid training program arranged by the hotel.

A ranking officials of the West Sumba Regency, Ndara Tanggu Kaha, restated the appreciation of the people of Sumba for the valuable contribution made by the Sumba Hospitality Foundation Ndara said: “To hear the student’s sing and fluently speak in English has made my hair stand on end – I never imagined this was possible in West Sumba and on the Island of Sumba. We are so proud that the graduates of this international school are people from Sumba. This demonstrated that the Sumba Hospitality Foundation as an educational institution has optimally dedicated itself to training people to develop Sumba. Thank you Ibu Inge for your attention.”

Related Site

Sumba Hospitality Foundation