James McBride, CEO of Nihi Sumba Hotel, comes from South Africa. When he landed on Sumba Island, he was immediately drawn to its beauty. Meanwhile, he lamented about the living conditions, especially water shortage, poverty, and lack of education. After he started to run the hotel, 95% of his employees are local residents. In addition, he set up a foundation, whose operation relies on the revenue of the resort, to help solve various issues that the local people are struggling with, including education.
Before the establishment of the foundation, Sumba residents had been drinking groundwater, which caused the spread of many diseases with the most serious being malaria. There were no hospitals and clinics, and people’s lives had been constantly threatened. The Foundation raises more than US$600,000 annually. The fund is used to treat malaria, purchase mosquito nets, educate children, and provide clean potable water. They are also used to build clinics and hospitals among other infrastructure. After years of efforts, the malaria infection rate is reduced by 85%, more than 60 wells are constructed, and 240 water supply stations have been installed. Additionally, 16 elementary schools now have running water, toilets, tables and chairs, library books, and other supplies.