We’d like to introduce you to Catherine, mother of St Jude’s student Augustino who is in Standard 2. Catherine is a remarkable individual, a Tanzanian woman with immense compassion and resilience. Every day is a struggle for her, an upward battle against cyclical poverty. She is currently raising three children while also caring for her cousin’s child. This Mother’s Day we’d like to share the story of Catherine because her selflessness and great strength are an inspiration to everyone at St Jude’s and should be to the world.
Catherine, her husband and children live in dire conditions. The family of six rent one room in a shared compound with other families. It’s overcrowded and resources are scarce. The families share a water tap, toilet and wash room. There’s no internal plumbing, or electricity. Buckets of water for cooking, drinking, washing and cleaning are collected from a nearby tap for a small per-bucket fee. To support the family, her husband farms his plot of land in Babati which is three hours away, meaning during harvesting season he’ll be away from Catherine and the household. What he’ll manage to grow – maize and beans – and sell will be their main source of income.
Catherine is also pregnant and expecting her fourth child any day now. With the impending addition of a fifth child to her flock, she’ll need all the help in any way possible as every day she must think about where her family’s next meal will come from. One of her main concerns is having enough food for her children and herself. Like other Tanzanian mothers, she has more worries than most women around the globe. More than 12 million Tanzanians live below the poverty line and don’t have access to safe water, food or a proper education. The women then have to do menial work like selling vegetables on the side of the road; just to keep the family alive. Everyday, Catherine cooks a fish and peanut dish to sell in town and make a bit of money. She doesn’t have much but will use the few ingredients that she has.
It is a constant struggle for Catherine, but she continues on, and we do what we can at St Jude’s, which is to give her son, Augustino, a completely free education. It’s one less thing she now has to worry about. We provide her son hot, nutritious meals everyday, give him a safe environment to learn and expand his creativity and imagination. We want Augustino to teach his siblings what he learns, to help them with their studies. A proper education can transform lives and the success of our students is testament to that.
“I’ve seen a lot of difference since Augustino started studying here, he’s become smart, he’s more polite, he’s hardworking,” Catherine says. “I’m very thankful to St Jude’s.”
We fully support Catherine as she raises her family and love that we can help take some of the load off her shoulders. This Mother’s Day, we invite you to salute Catherine’s strength and all of the mothers of our St Jude’s students.