At 22 years old Gemma Sisia travelled to Uganda to volunteer as a teacher, where she taught girls maths and sewing. This experience led to a fervent belief that a free, high-quality education should be the right of all children in the world and that education is the strongest weapon in the fight against poverty, corruption and political instability.
Upon returning to her native Australia, Gemma fundraised to help underprivileged children in East Africa complete their schooling. She would raise enough money to start an official fund to invest in the education of East Africa’s poorest children. Along with the gift of a small plot of land in Arusha, Tanzania, Gemma began to build The School of St Jude with the help of friends, family and Rotary groups.
The first class of Form 6 students started in May, giving St Jude’s a class in every grade.
The building program, which spanned more than a decade, was finally completed
The School Boards (both local and international) approved the St Jude’s Beyond High School Program, which will see our students continue on to their Community Service year and further education after successfully completing Form 6.
New Director appointed
School Director, Jon Ford, was appointed and joined the team in September
Felix Mollel was the first Tanzanian staff member to officially travel overseas to represent St Jude’s and promote the school
Our Form 4 exam results placed St Jude’s 3rd in the region and 20th in the nation
In December, the school building program finished with our final two boarding houses completed at Smith Campus
Ten year anniversary
St Jude’s celebrates its ten year anniversary, and is providing quality education to over 1,500 students.
Moshono campus is dedicated to the Sisia family, becoming Sisia Primary Campus
Usa River campus is dedicated to the Smith family, becoming Smith Secondary Campus
Over 850,000 meals served
A worldwide appeal for a new sportsground raises over $115,000
St Jude’s provides over 850,000 meals this year
Arusha inter-school sports champs
St Jude’s educates over 1,300 students (with 900 in boarding) and employs over 340 local staff.
St Jude’s wins the Arusha inter-school sports competition
Form 2 students are ranked third out of 302 schools in the Tanzanian National Exams North West zone
The school now has a fleet of 20 buses
Secondary school opens
The secondary school opens with 51 students in Form 1
150 staff and students are invited to dinner with President Kikwete
The GFC affects St Jude’s and 47 staff are retrenched
End of year ceremony has 4,000 staff, students and parents attending
St Jude’s now has three Tanzanian headmasters
Gemma is featured on Australian Story (ABC) for the second time
Usa River campus opens
Usa River campus opens with 500 students
St Jude’s educates 989 students and employs 330 local staff
The first Standard 7 class sit the Tanzanian National Exams, all are placed in the top 10% of the country
School buses travel up to 40km for staff and students every day
Moivaro boarding campus opens
Moivaro Boarding Campus opens to 300 students
St Jude’s educates over 850 students and employs 127 local staff
Gemma’s book St Jude’s is launched in Australia
Gemma receives an Order of Australia award
662 students, 114 staff
St Jude’s educates 662 students and employs 114 local staff
Thirty acres of land is purchased at Usa River for a second campus
Standard 4 students ranked 3rd out of 204 schools
The first Standard 4 students sit Tanzania’s National Exam. The school is ranked third out of 204 schools in the district, with an average mark of 90.8%.
Gemma is featured on Australian Story (ABC)
The Parents’ Committee now has 20 members
Richard Pagliaro helps to create the school’s website, connecting the school to the world
Hot lunches introduced
St Jude’s educates 423 students and employs over 80 local staff
The school bus fleet now numbers eight
Hot lunches are introduced for students and staff
A bore hole is drilled to get clean water for the school
120 students, 23 staff
St Jude’s educates 120 students and employs 23 local staff.
First day of school
The School of St Jude opens with three students.
School board and parents’ committee
The school board is formed
The Parents’ Committee is formed with five parents
Gemma moves to Tanzania
Gemma moves permanently to Tanzania to prepare the school for opening.
Rotary volunteers arrive
The first Rotary building team arrives from Armidale, Australia to build the first classroom.
Land gifted for school
Daniel Sisia gives land to Richard and Gemma on which to build a school.
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