In the heart of Raja Ampat lives one of the oldest and most genetically diverse human populations in the world – the Papuans.
Being mostly descendants of the Melanesians, their significant diversity is signified though more than 800 local languages and dialects, variations in architecture, traditional dress and elaborate rituals during feasts, marriages, initiation rites and deaths.
Many of the Papuan peoples still live in small villages, living from subsistence agriculture or specializing as gardeners, fishers, hunters and craftspeople.
The Papuans & MahaRaja
The Papuans are the heart and the soul of MahaRaja!
At MahaRaja, the local Papuan villages Arefi and Yensawai are the main actors of the lodge and they are inherently part of realising our joint vision of creating the best Eco resort in Raja Ampat. We live and work together in harmony - based on mutual respect and having fun. Papuan men and women are treated equally in terms of salary and general working conditions.
Over and above, the MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge supports the community through the following initiatives:
All the families from the Arefi and Yensawai villages work with MahaRaja in one way or another. From providing us with wood and other natural building materials, to hand-picked vegetables and plants, coconut oil and handcrafts, MahaRaja enables local Papuans to develop sustainable businesses. We also assist local homestays to develop their services in an eco-friendly way.
We provide microcredit to Papuans to pay for school, medical care, building and renovating their houses or for starting new businesses.
Through our dive school, we will train Papuans to become certified dive masters. Our classroom will also be used for teaching English and conducting classes on Ecology.
Donation of goods:
We regularly collect and donate clothes, shoes, tools, books, school accessories etc. to local Papuan communities.
As part of the MahaRaja experience, you will get to immerse yourself in the unique world of the Papuans and you will be able to contribute to their community through your stay and our various initiatives. It will be a genuine experience that will remain with you for a lifetime.
Get to know our lovely Papuans community.