It’s 6am and thousands of parents and students have come from all over Arusha with hopes that this day will change the future of their child’s education, forever. The road outside St Jude’s is overflowing with people as everyone eagerly waits for the school gates to burst open. It’s the first Selection Day of the year for Standard 1 and 2 students.
St Jude’s Selection Days are annual enrolment events that invite eligible Standard 1 and 2, Form 1 and Form 5 students to sit tests for an academic scholarship. Students from government schools receive an invitation letter to sit the test, and for Standard 1 and 2, announcements are also made on the local radio.
Around 1,000 prep and primary students attend Standard 1 and 2 Selection Day, hoping to receive an academic scholarship for St Jude’s. And this year the numbers were huge!
“We had more than 1,100 students come for registration. This is a lot more students compared to other years,” said Philip, Head of Community Relations.
A rigorous selection process is put in place to ensure that only the poorest and brightest students in Arusha receive scholarships to St Jude’s. First, students are registered to ensure they were invited, or they are the right age from a surrounding government school. Then, they are taken to do basic reading and writing tests to evaluate their academic skills. Most students are only six years old, so the testing is quite basic. This is followed by document verification to make sure students are the correct ages and match their documents before choosing the first successful batch that will go through the next stage.
“The team managed to reduce 1,127 students to 287 students who will be going through to the next stage, which is a series of house checks to assess their poverty level. After house checks, we aim to lower the number to around 100 students who will sit probation for two weeks to test their academic skills and behaviour further. Finally, we hope to enrol up to 90 new students. That’s the number of places we have available for 2021,” Philip explained.
House checks are an essential part of the selection process. It’s through house checks that poverty assessments are done to ensure that these students truly deserve a place at St Jude’s.
Noah, a St Jude’s graduate, working in the Supporter Relations department, volunteered to help on the day. “Student selection day has always been such a wonderful experience. It is my third time taking part, and each time I do, it reminds me of when I came for Selection Day back in 2006.”
“My role was to take students from the school gate to the dining hall where they were doing exams, and later, I helped in scanning their documents for verification,” Noah explained.
Having gone through the selection process, Noah said, “My Selection Day remains to be one of the most special and memorable days of my life. Being among the selected few out of thousands of students was a day that changed my life. I remember going to meet my parents after being selected, one of the most precious moments in any selection at St Jude’s. Words can’t explain the happiness that my parents and I had on that day.”
During the selection process, parents are not allowed to be part of the procedure and instead, anxiously wait outside the gates to receive their child, hopeful that they made it to the next stage.
“The massive crowd of parents were eager to know how their children's went. We can only take in a certain number of students and therefore, as a facilitator, I needed to put myself in the parent’s shoes. I had to understand their situation and remain creative in helping them cope with any result (good or bad),” explained Focus, Community Development Coordinator.
Focus’ role was to make sure that the parents and guardians understood what was happening as well as disseminate the necessary information about the next stages.
As a new member of staff volunteering on his first Selection Day, Focus said, “The experience was uplifting. It was great to be part of the process to select and support disadvantaged families residing in Arusha. The response from the parents was great. They were all eager to see their child getting through the various tests.”
He added, “I was super excited to see the students who had passed the testing stage coming out to meet their parents. Both parents and I felt the same intrinsic and extrinsic joy. It was great to watch the parents catching the vibe and rejoicing for their children.”
Selection Day is the first stage in breaking the poverty cycle for students and their families. Once they have successfully passed the rest of the process, these students will have an opportunity to receive the gift of free, quality education at St Jude’s. This is just the beginning of a very hopeful future.
Over 75% of school-aged children in Tanzania are destined to a life of poverty, living on less than AU$4.60 a day because they don’t have an education. Since 2002, The School of St Jude has been fighting poverty by providing the highest quality, free education for the country’s poorest, brightest students.
This would’ve not been possible without the help of St Jude’s supporters. Donors and sponsors have made it possible for the school to provide boarding for more than 80% of students, one million nutritious meals, school uniforms and health checks.
The School of St Jude has launched the St Jude’s Community Challenge to raise vital funds. This Australia-wide fundraising campaign invites individuals, families, schools, businesses and clubs to take part. There’s no limit to what you can do to challenge yourself; from running, walking and cycling to reading books, doing house chores and holding trivia challenges. So get creative!
St Jude’s Community Challenge falls during Children’s Week - 24 October to 1 November - St Jude’s Day is 28 October.
Maryanne began making masks when COVID-19 started to spread around Australia and generously used this initiative to fundraise for St Jude’s. Through her fundraising efforts, she raised $4,000, donating the proceeds towards ‘Feed a class for a year’ and ‘Support student welfare for a year.’
Maryanne was also part of the Health Check Team (HCT) in early February this year and returned to Australia just before countries started closing their borders. The HCT is a group of international medical specialists who volunteered for two weeks at the beginning of this year to conduct annual health checks for St Jude’s students.
“I started making masks for my family and friends and also put out the offer to everyone that was in the HCT. This kept me busy posting them out to all corners of Australia. As things got more serious in Australia, the requests from friends to buy them from me built. I didn’t feel comfortable profiting from my friends so I decided I would sell them with the profits going to The School of St Jude.”
Through a family member, Maryanne’s masks have been sold to staff and families in the Australian Parliament with members wearing them to Parliament House.
“I would like to thank Caroline Hall and Karenne Michaelides, who are both HCT Volunteers and sponsors of St Jude’s students’ academic scholarship. They have been a great help with support on the back end.”
To support Maryanne’s ‘St Jude’s Mask Charity’, email her at StJudeMaskCharity@gmail.com.
Not only have they been supporters for the past six years, but they went further earlier last year TechnologyOne officially partnered with St Jude’s to provide IT technology that has transformed the school’s operational processes. The company’s employees raised an additional $10,000 that went towards ‘Funding the salary of one of the IT teachers for an entire year.’
“TechnologyOne has enabled our Managers to now see real-time transactions which means that they no longer wait until the following month to keep track of their expenditure. We have also just rolled out the Enterprise Budgeting Module. This brings an enormous change to the budget process which has had to be completed in numerous spreadsheets in the past,” Finance Manager, Johnbosco Heshima.
Adding to the same sentiments, Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) Manager, Vivian said, “TechnologyOne has been a lifesaver, quite literally! Since the BSJ program started in 2015, we have solely depended on excel sheets for all data recording and facilitation of payments of stipends and scholarship amounts in general. While excel sheets are still great, everything is so manual, allowing a big room for error and it can be time-consuming. Thanks to TechnologyOne, all my records are accurately systemised. It is also quite centralised, allowing me to find everything about a BSJ Scholar in a few clicks! Budgeting and forecasting are also being made easy and fun to track. Thanks to Kelly and the entire TechnologyOne team, BSJ’s life has been made a whole lot easier.”
Located in Australia, TechnologyOne is a successful tech company with a heart. Their Foundation is committed to help 500,000 children out of poverty.
Andrew is gearing up to challenge himself for St Jude’s by riding Red Hill in Canberra 41 times this October. In supporting and raising funds for St Jude’s, Andrew has previously cycled alone and unsupported across Tanzania covering a distance of about 1600km.
“I was planning to come back to Tanzania in 2021 for the next great ride, but due to COVID-19 travel restrictions that is not going to happen now. As a substitute, I'm planning to ride up Red Hill in Canberra 41 times on 17 October. That will equal the elevation gain of going up Mount Kilimanjaro – unfortunately, it won't be quite the same experience as the real thing, but I will be thinking of St Jude's on the day.”
To support Andrew’s challenge for St Jude’s, visit here
You too can take a cycling challenge or physical challenge this October and raise funds for St Jude’s. REGISTER your challenge here
Andie Lowe, a long-time supporter of The School of St Jude organised a ‘Distance Dinner for St Jude’s’ intending to raise $10,000. Amazingly, Andie has already made $10,000 reaching her set target, but she has high hopes to raise even more funds.
Andie is selling dinner boxes via her website. “Everyone who purchases a dinner box will sit down on 18 October to enjoy an African inspired dinner. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, we can’t all enjoy dining together, so this is a way to feel connected, from a distance! ” she explained.
She added, “I hope to have the support of Methodist Ladies' College (MLC) teachers, students and broader connections to participate. I’ll be connecting with people through social media and reaching out to friends, family and my parents and work colleagues.”
Andie visited St Jude’s last year on a school trip with MLC, thus igniting her passion to fundraise for the school when she returned home.
You too can support Andie to raise funds for St Jude’s. Click to visit her website and purchase a dinner box;
A massive thank you for all the super supporters of St Jude’s. The school couldn’t do it without the incredible support and advocacy from people like you.
The Beyond St Jude’s Community Service Year (CSY) is coming to an end for our class of 2019 graduates, and now it’s time for them to spread their wings and embark on the next stage of their educational journeys… higher education!
Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) is an optional, yet popular, program for our Form 6 graduates made up of two parts. The program enables our graduates to give back to their communities in an educational context as volunteers through a Community Service Year and then provides them with the funding they need to go on to access higher education within East Africa through our Tertiary Fund.
In the first year out of high school, our graduates can apply to take part in the Community Service Year as one way to give back in recognition of the free education they received at St Jude’s. As Community Service Year volunteers, they personify the school’s vision, sharing their gifts of knowledge and values they learned at St Jude’s by teaching in local government schools or in placements throughout St Jude’s campuses.
After successful completion of their Community Service Year, St Jude’s set up a Tertiary Fund to help support graduates in their first higher education qualification within East Africa.
Razak and Sarafina are two Form 6 graduates who have successfully completed their Community Service Year at Elerai secondary school and Enyoitoa secondary school in Arusha respectively. They are now in the process of enrolling in university through the BSJ program.
“I’m applying to University of Dar es Salaam, Ardhi University and Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology. My priority course is Civil Engineering, but I would also like to take Electrical Engineering,” says Razak.
Razak voluntarily taught mathematics to 484 Form 1 students at a local government school as a way to give back to his community through the CSY program.
“I studied PCM, which means physics, chemistry and mathematics in Form 6. I love science studies, that’s why I’m applying for the course.”
“Tanzania is lagging behind other countries in construction and infrastructure. I want to make an impact by being part of the infrastructure development in the country,” Razak stated confidently.
Sarafina, who loves drawing, wants to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry or Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture. “I’m applying to the University of Dar es Salaam, Ardhi University and the University of Dodoma. My courses will be involving physics, chemistry and mathematics.”
Sarafina’s dream is to become a teacher, “I chose Landscape Architecture because I love drawing so much so I feel I could be good at it. But for the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, I plan to teach or be part of the industry.”
The Beyond St Jude’s Tertiary program is in place to help graduates achieve their dreams of completing higher education. In Tanzania, only 4% of post-school-aged students enroll in higher education.
“St Jude’s is playing a big role in stacking the odds in our favour. The program is helping us with guidance on specific courses and recommend what’s best for us by looking at our qualifications and abilities and guiding us along the right path,” says Razak.
Agreeing with Razak, Sarafina says, “Without St Jude’s I couldn’t have done this. The school is guiding us through each process, making the application easy and supporting us financially too.”
Assisting the graduates in their application process is Rickson. He’s also a Form 6 graduate who has been volunteering in the Beyond St Jude’s department for the remainder of his Community Service Year.
“This time of the year is when students apply for university. The team here have been assisting graduates in applying and making online payments. We’ve also been helping them update their information.”
“Once we enrol and begin our studies, the BSJ team come and visit us to track our progress and make sure we are getting the best education,” he added.
Rickson is aiming to pursue Chemical Engineering at the University of Dar es Salaam.
“I’m in my last month of the Community Service Year, and I’m looking forward to starting university.”
“My passion is to work in industries. In filling the application, my second option was Industrial Engineering. Academically, my strength is chemistry and mathematics. So I feel like Chemical Engineering will be a good field for me since I’ve been enjoying the subjects,” said Rickson.
St Jude’s mission is to fight poverty through education and develop the future leaders of Tanzania. Through the Beyond St Jude’s Program, graduates not only get an opportunity to give back to their own communities in recognition of their free education but also share the benefits of the quality education they received with many less fortunate, but equally talented, young Tanzanians; helping to inspire them to strive for a brighter future.
To date, The School of St Jude has produced 675 high school graduates. As the next group of graduates submit their university applications, it takes them one step closer to becoming the next generation of leaders that will deliver a sustainable and self-determining future for the people of Tanzania.
Emmanuel, a Form 4 student, studying at Smith Campus, has big dreams of becoming a humanitarian. His mission in life is to live with integrity, and he aims to make a difference in the life of others.
“I am charitable and like helping people despite who they are and where they are from,” he confidently articulated as he shared his life goals.
During the school shut down earlier this year due to COVID-19, Emmanuel used his time volunteering at an orphanage on the outskirts of Arusha. The orphanage centre takes in and cares for orphans coming from poor and marginalised communities. Emmanuel spent his time there teaching English and computer skills and sharing his knowledge from St Jude’s.
“During the day, I would spend my time teaching and training children sports and first aid. I also taught them environment conservation, innovation and waste recycling. We would turn plastic bottles into ornaments that can be used by the children,” Emmanuel explained.
Emmanuel, who loves to innovate new things during his spare time, invented a hand-washing machine which he submitted to an international organisation calling for innovators to submit ideas on how to tackle COVID-19.
“I submitted my hand-washing machine idea. I didn’t win, but my idea was commended, and I received a certificate for it,” adding that although he didn’t win, it was still an amazing opportunity to showcase his design to an international audience.
Helping people, especially children, has been instilled in Emmanuel ever since he was young. “My drive and passion for helping children started when I was elected as a leader for a children’s council in my community church. From that point on, I was eager to extend my hand in the orphanage centres around Arusha.”
Emmanuel is also very active in different activities outside school. He’s an ambassador to a non-profit organisation that works to lift young people out of poverty through literacy.
He’s also been appointed to be a Country Coordinator to a platform of youth around the world to explore innovative ideas to solve issues related to youth, especially youth empowerment and employment. He believes that these roles and opportunities are helping him to become a future leader of Tanzania and putting him on the right path to fulfil his mission. “My wish for the future is to see every student from St Jude’s become a good, unique person and an asset to this country,” said Emmanuel.
Acknowledging Emmanuel’s work, Mr Humphrey, Deputy Headmaster – Core Values & Operations at Smith Campus said, “In recognising students such as Emmanuel’s achievements, the school keeps his records of the times he volunteered for future use. We also acknowledged his accomplishments during assembly.”
“To encourage more students to give back to their communities, we encourage students to form groups and volunteer during holidays. Also, we have volunteering programs, usually done on weekends where many students participate in volunteering activities in and out of school,”
Mr Humphrey added.
Emmanuel’s dream is to make a difference in his community. He believes that this begins by recognising and observing St Jude’s core values which are respect, honesty, responsibility and kindness. With these principles instilled in him and the gift of high-quality education he’s receiving, his wish after graduation is to become a source of inspiration to the society.