Philanthropy in Action on the Island of Sumba

After hearing for several years bits and pieces about the Sumba Hospitality Foundation and the hotel school it was building on the Indonesian island of Sumba, I finally paid enough attention recently to understand and appreciate what a great thing the Foundation has done.

Sumba is almost right in the middle of the Indonesian archipelago

The Foundation is the brainchild of Inge De Lathauwer, a Belgian do-gooder and lover of Asia with a professional background in the hotel industry. She saw Sumba as a developing tourist destination (some say it’s similar to Bali was 40 years ago), and believed there was a need to educate locally so that the local economy and people could benefit as the industry grows. The island is home to about 800,000 people but there is no education available on the island past high school. At least until Inge came along.

Several years ago, Inge set out to build a school and set up a non-profit foundation to make it happen. I became aware of her efforts through my work with John Hardy, Green School and Elora Hardy’s Ibuku, who was commissioned to build the campus including its in-house hotel.

The Foundation’s school opened its doors in 2016. The following video was made last year when the school opened.

And last month, the first batch of students graduated from the Sumba Hospitality School. John Hardy (pictured above with some of the graduates) attended the first graduation ceremony. He shared his story about this moving experience in a recent Green by John post.

To me, Inge is a great example of someone using their resources, passions and influence to do good in the world.  This kind of person I get excited to support through MarcWhittaker.

Learn more about Inge and the Sumba Hospitality Foundation here, and if you’re ever visiting Indonesia and want to do something a bit less predictable than what’s available for tourists in Bali, head over to Sumba and spend a few days at the Foundation. You can book a room online.

Chris Saye
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Chris is a family office executive, coach and writer. He is a former partner with both Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young, and currently manages MarcWhittaker, a network of family office advisors in Singapore. He is a fluent Russian-speaker, having spent 15 years living and working in Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Chris has been married to his wife Galina for over 20 years and together they have three children and two grandchildren.

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