The vision for Sekolah Papua Harapan grew out of a desire to see more Papuan pilot candidates join the ministry of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), a mission organization that has been serving the people of Papua since 1952. While not an educator, Wally Wiley, the MAF Papua Program Manager at the time, began to conceptualize an education program to equip Papuan children to become pilots.
In 1997, Wally met Johannes Oentoro and James Riady when the two Indonesian businessmen brought famine relief supplies from Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, to Papua, Indonesia. When asked what Papua’s biggest need was, Wally responded, “education.” Wally found out later that Pak (Mr.) Johannes and Pak (Mr.) James had founded the renowned Pelita Harapan school system in Jakarta. In 2003, Pak Johannes and Pak James partnered with Wally to establish Yayasan Pendidikan Harapan Papua, a foundation for the school.
After several years of negotiating to purchase land for the campus, a sale agreement was made in March 2008. In October 2008, the school began its first year in temporary facilities, with two teachers who had been trained at Sekolah Pelita Harapan in Jakarta and eight students from a remote village in Papua’s interior (mountainous inland region). At present, (August 2011), the school serves 80 children grades K-4, 14 of whom are from Papua’s interior.
Since its inception, Sekolah Papua Harapan’s vision has grown to encompass not only the equipping of future pilots, but the equipping of Papuan children to become godly men and women of integrity ready to pursue any calling