Since its inception in 2001, the Sumba Foundation has been providing much-needed humanitarian aid to communities on the island of Sumba, Indonesia, mostly in the Western Sumba Regency. Between 2015 and 2016 alone, the foundation served an unprecedented 20,000 individuals thanks to generous donations from such entities as the Donald A. Burns Foundation. Through this support, the Sumba Foundation has funded an array of important projects that are improving living conditions for the Sumbanese people.
One of the Sumba Foundation’s most impactful missions is its health services initiative, which has seen impressive growth since 2011. Prior to the work of the foundation, the Sumba government operated too few medical clinics to provide the healthcare that local residents needed. Over the years, the Sumba Foundation has established five new clinics on the island’s western region and provided a nursing staff of 13 employees.
In addition to offering standard medical care, as well as care for dental and ophthalmologic needs, the Sumba Foundation provides crucial blood testing for malaria to everyone who comes to one of its clinics. Through this dedicated work, the organization has been able to reduce the rate of malaria infection by 85 percent.
The Sumba Foundation has focused on providing water to Sumba villages longer than it has run any other project. In addition to digging 60 wells—some of them by hand—the organization has installed enough generators, pumps, and water stations to supply clean drinking water to more than 19,000 people. Every day, the Sumba Foundation uses over 160 tanks to store nearly 600,000 liters of water for use by countless to individuals, medical clinics, and schools.
In the spirit of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of achieving primary education for all, the Sumba Foundation has prioritized developing educational resources for primary school students in West Sumba. Although Indonesia offers education to all children, many of its schools are in disrepair. In an effort to fill this gap, the Sumba Foundation partnered with 16 local schools to perform required repairs and renovations. Now, each of the students at these institutions has access to bathroom facilities, classroom furniture, and daily lunches that support his or her educational growth. In addition, the Sumba Foundation has also provided nine stocked libraries and hired two teachers who visit all the schools, instructing students in hygiene, nutrition, and English.