Sustainability at Amanjiwo

Culture & Conservation at Amanjiwo

Improving education and preserving ancient cultural skills

Aman properties around the world are an integral part of the communities in which they are set, and all of our team members and their families are part of the larger Aman family. This provides unique insight into the needs of each community, and Amanjiwo is no exception. The resorts home country, Indonesia, has the world’s fourth-largest population, and the country dedicates about 20% of the government's national budget to education. Yet the quality of teaching varies tremendously, and as is a universal challenge, with the pandemic preventing access to lessons for many young people. Amanjiwo aims to elevate education in the local community, widening the hands-on learning opportunities on offer.

COMMUNITY & EDUCATION

Prospects for local students

Home to a hundred children, Yayasan Badan Wakaf was built in 2005 as an orphanage, but has since developed into a middle school with 15 teachers. Set in the village of Majaksingi, Amanjiwo strives to provide the nearby school with substantial support from maintenance and a fully equipped library to scholarships and supplementary learning. With the help of incredibly generous donations from hotel guests, Amanjiwo is also able to assist in the development of self-sustainable accommodation which serves as a safe and comfortable space for education, with access to water, sanitation and healthy food. 

Preserving the art of batik

The symbolism and culture around batik forms part of Indonesian life from birth, as infants are carried in batik slings to bring luck. A textiles art originating from Java, Amanjiwo hosts batik classes for children of Yayasan Badan Wakaf, and guests, twice a month. These creative lessons for students aged 12 to18 impart specialist skills for them to have the option to pursue this art form to a professional level. This provides the potential for young people to start their own micro-businesses; an enterprise Amanjiwo can support in the future as a customer.

The batik classes take place during the resort’s complimentary afternoon tea in the Rotunda, which creates an informal way for guests to spend time with the students, often inspiring them to donate or explore ways of helping with scholarships.

Supporting sustainability knowledge 

Amanjiwo has created a cultural platform to enhance young people's knowledge of what it means to be green. Inviting children growing up in the natural environment of Borobudur to learn to grow nutritious food more responsibly, Amanjiwo’s sustainability ambassador and long-time team member,  Bapak Hendri, runs the sessions, which are often attended by villagers in the area. Activities include learning how to avoid littering, plastic reduction, inspiring the use of alternative reusable materials, and planting tree seedlings on Menoreh Hill. 

Reforestation efforts

Amanjiwo works closely with its neighbouring communities to restore previously forested areas around the Unesco-protected Borobudur temple. The reforestation and rewilding of these areas provides a critical buffer zone between agricultural lands and the surrounding forest. These pastures are being replanted with indigenous trees and shrubs that are native to the region. The resort’s conservation and nursery teams regularly monitor the growth of the plants while guests are also invited to leave a lasting legacy by visiting the nursery and planting trees in and around the property as part of the ongoing programme.

WASTE REDUCTION

So-long to single-use

Amanjiwo banned plastic straws in 2018 and has only used bamboo and grass versions since. The resort has also carried out a full audit of all plastic on site, looking into how and where suppliers use plastics and encouraging them to avoid its use. As a result of this initiative, several suppliers - including the resort’s laundry service - have replaced plastic wrapping with reusable delivery bags. 

Low food-waste philosophy

While it is difficult to imagine luxury hotels holding important conversations on composting, at Amanjiwo, the team has become gripped with what happens to food waste with the principles of permaculture becoming a regular topic of discussion. The resort's organic composting system aims to combat this, converting waste into nutrient-rich organic matter, which is used in the property’s gardens as part of a closed-loop. As a result, the worm population is increasing, which is a positive sign of improved soil health.

The resort has also built wild-bee accommodation to attract more of this important species, and planted flower bushes across the property to boost biodiversity.

 

Utilising natural resources

Since the opening of the resort in 1997, Amanjiwo has been working craftsmen the nearby villages to craft different claypots and dining utensils, chairs, tables, and pieces of art out of locally sourced trees. As well as enhancing the resort’s unique design language, and supporting local craftspeople, these bespoke pieces reduce the resort’s carbon emissions, avoiding unnecessary importation of these everyday items from further afield.

Culinary

Farm to table

Days at Majaksingi, the village where Amanjiwo is located, start early, when the gardens hang in mist and the cool dawn air fills with birdsong and the chirping of insects. As the sun rises over the Menoreh Hills, the farmers begin to harvest the crops that will end up in Amanjiwo’s kitchen – part of the resort’s dedication to sourcing highly localised produce in a sustainable process presented by nearby farmers and food producers. 

Organic gardening

Amanjiwo also grows a range of herbs, fruits, and vegetables in its own organic garden. Each day the resort’s chefs collect fresh ingredients for their dishes alongside lemongrass and ginger to create refreshing herbal iced tea. Guests are invited to learn more about this self-sustaining process by touring the garden with Amanjiwo’s executive chef and taking part in cooking classes using the garden’s produce.

Upholding tradition 

Central Java has a rich repertoire of traditional dances, each one telling a different story. To keep the art alive, Amanjiwo supports various local dance troupes, providing memorable evenings for guests. An evening of traditional dance, music and cuisine, the resort hosts regular Ramayana Dinners, beginning with a Ramayana Dance performance, which tells the story of the legendary romantic epic, representing the triumph of good over evil. The performance is accompanied by a Royal Javanese Feast, inspired by dishes served at the Keraton, the Sultan’s palace in Yogyakarta, an in turn in helps to preserve the region’s most sacred traditions.