Five days in East Sumba, for setting up the project "Sumba Photo Stories"

A moment of grace in the company of those who will be the eyes and souls of this unique project. Let me show you how and where I live!

2 December 2019

East Sumba Survey Nov. 2019

Posted by : alex-wettstein

Dear friends, hello Kawan's,

As a part of our activities in Indonesia, and particularly on Sumba Island - one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia - and the "Sumba Photo Stories" project, we went for five full days of a survey in Sumba.

The Fair Future Foundation and the Kawan Baik Indonesia Foundation have been working together for months to prepare for this mission. The result is that we have done a colossal job of locating places, appointments with major players in socio-medical issues in Sumba. This is to prepare the measures and actions that we will implement in the days/weeks.

Several Kawan's (good friends of the Kawan Baik Indonesia Foundation) were also present on the field since they are the ones who organize the activities in East Sumba: Anissa, Ayu, Gogon, Vifick, Alex and also our local coordinators who are Primus and Adhi. Altogether, we conducted a huge survey work, project feasibility and have met extraordinary people.

☞ Sumba, A forgotten land where traditions and customs still structure space and time!

A burning sun, a bumpy territory on which the drought leaves no chance to the life of plants, villages straight out of a Tolkien novel, all inhabited by radiating beings and wandering souls. Here is Sumba, the island of the borders of Indonesia, land of unexpected shocks but incredible poverty.

Sumba is the third poorest province in the archipelago, where the majority of its inhabitants live well below the poverty line. With a long dry season followed by brief monsoon rains, the island's livelihood depends heavily on the annual harvest season, consisting mainly of dry crops such as maize and tapioca; it dependent on yearly rainfall yields, far too insufficient.

Due to Sumba's isolation from the central government of Java, but mainly its relatively small size and population, the island has still not received sufficient support in terms of resource allocation (already extremely limited) necessary for a semblance of economic growth.

Sumba must rely on sporadic emergency aid from the central government to try to avoid starvation caused by poor harvests. But this is another story as the central government do not care. Indeed, for more than a decade, the Indonesian government has been grappling with a severe financial crisis.

☞ The new Indonesian regional economic plan further aggravates this already growing problem!

The plan suggests that remote provinces and government presence across the country will be more decentralised to remote areas with no economic future. This is not a good scenario for Sumba, who has minimal natural resources to build an industrial base.

According to a report released recently by the World Bank, because of the current economic crisis and the country's limited resources, millions more Indonesians will be forced into poverty in the coming years. Sumba and its inhabitants are obviously in the front line!

Interventions by government programs and international assistance are continually changing the traditional structure of the island. Some changes seem desirable: Corrugated iron roofs to replace alang-alang roofs, concrete rather than stone tombs. But the essential remains unchanged.

☞ The foundation and Kawan Baik Indonesia are on site

Our two entities, Kawan Baik and the Fair Future Foundation, have come together to bring something more to the forgotten, to those who do not have access to clean water, electricity, primary medical care and emergency care. It is in this sense that we have imagined the project "Sumba Photo Stories" to give the floor to those who do not have access to the majority of the basic needs of the human being.

Read more about this project here!

  • V/o Français en HAUTE résolution (HD) - Download / V/o Français en BASSE résolution (LR) - Download
  • V/o English in HIGH resolution (HD) - Download / V/o English in LOW resolution (LR) - Download

Our actions begin with this project, and it will last four months. It will be completed and extended with the development of actions related to the improvement of living conditions, the health of people, particularly the most vulnerable that are children and the elderly. But also access to drinking water, electricity by installing renewable energy solutions such as wind, sun, among others. Our greatest success is that every day, our work has a positive impact on families' lives. Their smiles inspire us to do even more than yesterday.

So here are some pictures of our activities last week. Five days during which we met the children who will take part in the project "Sumba Photo Stories". These children will be our eyes and will guide us, help us make decisions that meet their daily reality, their vital needs... Within the limits of what is reasonable and good for them.

For those who do not know much about Sumba, here are some simple Infos!

  • Sumba is an Indonesian island in Southeast Asia, part of the small islands of Sunda;
  • Sumba borders the Savu Sea to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south;
  • Sumba is located 45 km south of Flores Island, 67 km south-southeast of Sumbawa Island, 288 km west of Timor Island and 693 km northwest of Australia;
  • Sumba is located more than 1'700 kilometres east of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta;
  • Sumba has an area of ​​11,153 km2, about 220 km long and 70 km wide;
  • Sumba has a population of nearly 700,000;
  • The main city of Sumba is Waingapu, with a population of about 51'000 inhabitants;
  • The inhabitants of Sumba speak the languages ​​of the "Bima-Sumba" sub-group of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages.
  • Between 25% and 30% of the population practices a traditional religion called "Marapu". The rest is Christian, mostly Calvinist but with a large Catholic minority. There is a small number of Muslims in the coastal areas.

We thank you very much for your kindness, all your kind words too, those received on our mobile phones, on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. You are magical, and you give us strength and courage. We need it, just as we need you all.

☞ You can help us and participate in these activities in Sumba where all or almost everything remains to be done.

Thank you very much to all of you for, your benevolence and your great support for our Swiss State Approved organisation.

Alex Wettstein (by chat) - Founder / Chairman Fair Future Foundation.

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