School of St. Jude in Northern Tanzania sees third wave of graduates

Secondary Headmaster Adam Myombe and a graduate presents founder Gemma Sisia with a gift.
Secondary Headmaster Adam Myombe and a graduate presents founder Gemma Sisia with a gift.

FIFTEEN years ago local lady Gemma Sisia opened the School of St. Jude in Northern Tanzania.

Today it provides an education to over 1,800 vulnerable children.

Gemma and a graduate.

Gemma and a graduate.

And last month, 133 of the poorest and brightest students in the Arusha region of Tanzania graduated.

Founder Gemma Sisia opened the school in 2002 with three students and a 19-year-old volunteer teacher from Coogee after years of small scale fundraising and being told, “it can’t be done”.

Over the years the school has been home to a number of success stories including that of last year’s graduate Winrose Mollel, who is about to move to the US to commence tertiary studies at Trinity College.

She will study Mechanical Engineering, with hopes of becoming an aeronautical engineer.

“Most women in Tanzania are discouraged from studying science,” Ms Mollel said. 

“Some people think girls can’t do it.

“They have so much potential – girls and women just have to believe in themselves and trust their abilities, like Gemma did.”

Over 90 per cent of this year’s graduates have chosen to participate in St Jude’s Community Service Year where they will spend the next 12 months volunteering to teach in local, under-resourced government schools, helping approximately 10,000 Tanzanian secondary students.

Founder Gemma Sisia.

Founder Gemma Sisia.