About Nias

Category: English

Nias is an island off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The island is approximately 125 km long and 40km wide, including minor offshore islands. The Nias Islands have an volcanic origin and cover about an area of 4771 km² with an estimated 650.000 inhabitants. The capital city Gunungsitoli is home to 74.000 inhabitants and is the centre of administration and the economy. The next largest city is Teluk Dalam in the South with about 77.000 inhabitans.

The Niasans have been living on the island for more than thousand years. They have developed their own language “Li Niha”, although most do speak Bahasa Indonesia as well. The children’s home Villa Kunterbunt is located in South of the island in the small village Hilimaenamölö. The beautiful bay of Sorake, also known to be one of the best surf spots in the world with the legendary “The Point”,  is easily accessible by moped in ten to fifteen minutes. Not far from the bay you can find very pleasant accommodation, so called Losmen. From one of their several balconies you can admire the beautiful picture of locals trying to surf the unique right point breaks on one of the most gorgeous beaches. There is, of course,  plenty to see and do, if you shouldn’t be into surfing.

At traditional mountain villages (e.g. Bawomataluo) you can marvel the well- preserved Niasan architecture. If you are lucky you can witness some famous events, for example the War Dances or the Stone Jumping.
The latter being a ritual for young men who are obliged to prove their manliness by jumping over a two-metre-high tower made of stones.

On December 26, 2004  an earthquake measuring 9.1 on the Richter scale struck along the coast of North Sumatra. The Tsunami devastated the land and killed several people. Not even 6 months later the island was again struck by an earthquake triggering a Tsunami. In Gunungsitolo, the capital city of Nias, 80% of all buildings were destroyed killing several people. It is not easy growing up in Nias. Already at an early age children have to work, either to improve the family income or  to take on domestic duties. They work in rice fields and bring in the harvest, which is heavy physical labour.

Most families can’t afford to send their children to school. Especially the children living in the mountainous region don’t have access to education due to the long school route. Therefore a lot of children can only dream of going to school and learning a profession.

With our project Villa Kunterbunt we want to give the children a new home and the opportunity to go to school. In order for them to live their lives self-determined and self-confident.