About St Jude's

The mission of The School of St Jude is to educate disadvantaged, bright students from the Arusha District to become moral and intellectual leaders in their country.
St Jude’s provides a free, high-quality education to 1,800 students at a primary and secondary campus and has a program to also support its graduates through higher education. St Jude’s graduates, supported by the school, are also teaching over 10,000 government school students each year.

The situation

Poverty in Tanzania is endemic, 70% of people live on less that AU$2.5 a day. Over two thirds of Tanzania’s children are not in secondary school and cannot access skilled employment. The government school system is overstretched, under-resourced, and produces poor educational outcomes for Tanzanian society.

St Jude’s provides a free, high-quality education to children who — due to poverty and social pressures — would otherwise be unlikely to complete their schooling. Drawn from families who live below the poverty line, the pupils of St Jude’s are shining examples of what students can achieve when they are given the opportunity to receive a quality education. Education lifts people out of poverty and creates stable and growing economies.

Since 2002 we have added approximately 150 students to the school each year and in 2015 the first senior class from The School of St Jude graduated from Form 6. Since then we have seen three more cohorts follow suit. We have extended our model by introducing the Beyond St Jude’s program, so that we can now also support our graduates through tertiary education and complete the mission to create the next generation of Tanzanian leaders.

A new approach

The way we do things at St Jude’s is different. With generous and ongoing support from individuals and institutions around the world we have built an exceptional educational institution that regularly ranks in the top 5% nationally. Every single one of our students was chosen because they combined academic promise with a desperately poor background and a great attitude to work. We feed them, house them, educate them, and do everything possible to ensure our students’ well being and future success. As a result we have three campuses filled with happy and healthy children in a country where children frequently drop out of school.

Everything we do is focused on ensuring our students have the most successful academic and welfare outcomes possible. Each child we invite into the school represents another family who has the opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty. Due to resources we are limited to 150 students each year, so in order to ensure we are selecting children who meet out criteria, each year we run a rigorous student selection process.

St Jude’s has an amazing story, read on to understand what makes us different.

Building from scratch

One student per family

Our policy is to accept only one student from a family. This means that 150 families each year will benefit from having a well-educated child who can then assist them in the future.

Planning for the future

Students come first

Two boarding facilities for over 1,400 students

The pressures of extreme poverty prevent many Tanzanian children from attending school and we know that boarding is a big part of the solution to this. A range of welfare, educational, and nutritional benefits are achieved by the provision of boarding facilities. Students are provided with their own bed, mosquito net, breakfast and dinner along with running water and consistent electricity. Boarding parents supervise our students and provide extra homework sessions and extra curricular activities.

Nutritious food & healthy meals

Unfortunately, childhood malnutrition is common in Tanzania, but at St Jude’s our team of Tanzanian cooks and kitchen staff work hard to produce nutritious meals, with a menu featuring seasonal produce which often comes from our school gardens and plantation. Dishes include rice or ugali (maize), with beans, lentils, cabbage, okra and other fruit and vegetables.

With over 2,000 mouths to feed every day at lunch, and approximately 1,400 who eat breakfast and dinner at boarding — the school goes through a mountain of vegetables, fruit, rice and maize. St Jude’s sources all its produce from local suppliers with our Purchasing team visiting the local markets several times each week to ensure that all food is as fresh as possible.

Student health & welfare

In addition to our healthy meals, our students also receive an annual medical check from international volunteer medical professionals, checking eyesight, hearing, height, weight and looking for any potential health issues.

St Jude’s also has a Community Relations team with two full-time nurses. This team provide basic medical attention, counselling, catering for special dietary requirements, as well as caring generally for the physical and psychological health of the students, at school or at home.

If child welfare issues are discovered in a student’s home life, the school welfare deputies and the Parent Committee work together, with local authorities, to determine whether to remove the student from the situation completely or assist the family to build a safe home environment. St Jude’s also provides specific financial and welfare assistance to students suffering serious health concerns where the family cannot immediately support them.

Promoting diversity

The School of St Jude is helping to facilitate change in traditional community mindsets. For girls in Tanzania, their chance to attend school is often weighed against their value as caregivers, water fetchers or marketplace vendors. Tanzanian girls from a poor rural background will only receive an average of 3.7 years of schooling.

St Jude’s firmly believes in the education of girls. The school does not discriminate when selecting students although, over the years, St Jude’s has educated more female than male students. St Jude’s encourages its female staff to be strong role models and the school’s welfare team works through any issues of discrimination, both with students and their families.

Equally, whilst St Jude’s is a Christian-based school, it welcomes students of any faith or tribe to apply for an academic scholarship and has students of Christian, Muslim, and other faiths from over 50 different tribes. When a student is enrolled in the school their parents acknowledge that as a Christian-based school, it is unable to commit to provide additional services to facilitate non-Christian religious practices.

Managing health and welfare

Parents Committee

The St Jude’s Parents Committee is the link between our community and the school, managing issues related to students and their families. If teachers notice a change in behaviour or performance with a student, the Parent’s Committee investigates to see whether financial or other support can be extended to help with the student’s family and home life. Our Parents Committee consists of 49 members. They meet regularly and it is chaired by Fausta Alfayo.

Equal opportunity

Well supported academic staff

Local teaching staff & capacity building

Our 270+ local Tanzanian staff members, academic and non-academic, work across all three school campuses. Teachers are chosen for their strong teaching qualifications, high aptitude in English language, and commitment to their students.

Tanzanian curriculum in English

St Jude’s is an English Medium School, teaching all lessons (except Kiswahili!) in English. The school teaches an integrated and enriched version of the Tanzanian National Curriculum, and encourages active participation from students to develop their confidence and ability to work with peers. Our classroom environments are colourful and well resourced with up-to-date teaching materials.

Well-stocked libraries

St Jude’s has worked hard to stock our three libraries with quality, age-appropriate books. Through generous donations of books and funding from our donors we have built a wonderful collection of books, DVDs and CDs which now has more than 30,000 items, not including textbooks.

We are focused on making our libraries reading centres and catalysts for literacy in the school community. Our Jungle Reading Club at Lower Primary provides students with English-language workbooks to take home over the school holidays, so they maintain their own English language development while also allowing them to teach their siblings and pass on knowledge.

169 teachers for 1652 students

Speak English

32,718 books, DVDs and CDs

ICT and the Sciences

Promoting computer use

Students and staff at St Jude’s have access to 350 computers across our three campuses and boarding facilities. From the time they enter the school, St Jude’s students are encouraged to use computers for writing and research, preparing them for life in the professional world.

A love for science

St Jude’s offers specialist academic streams including science and mathematics which are both highly popular with our secondary students at Smith Secondary Campus. With eight modern science labs (four for A level and four for O level) St Jude’s produces exceptionally high academic results in this area. Our star science students have ambitions to be Scientists and Engineers — essential professions for the future of East Africa.

350 computers in 9 labs

Personal computers

Along with ICT training, The School of St Jude provides interest-free loans for its teachers to use for purchasing IT equipment. We want our staff to be computer literate.

Beyond our school walls

Transport for students & staff

The School of St Jude has an iconic and much loved fleet of yellow buses, transporting students and staff daily. Since there is no government assistance for transport and public transport is not always safe and reliable, the school purchases and maintains its own buses. Our fleet transports students and staff from up to 45km away, saving everyone from an otherwise arduous trek over long distances. The buses also ensure a higher attendance rate from students during Tanzania’s annual rainy season, when it’s difficult to get around.

Local community & economy

The original land for St Jude’s was donated by the local Sisia Family, and the school maintains close links to the Arusha community. In 2019 St Jude’s employs over 270 local staff — headmasters, teachers, cooks, cleaners, builders, mechanics, office staff, drivers, guards, and gardeners. Local products are bought for meals, uniforms, buildings and furnishings to support the local community and economy as much as possible.

In 2018 St Jude’s injected over US$5 million into the East African economy, with the majority of the money being spent in the Arusha region. Many of St Jude’s staff and suppliers who live in the area have invested back into their community and Moshono (where our Sisia campus is) has grown to become an official area of Arusha.

29 buses

Going the extra mile

St Jude’s fleet of 29 buses quite literally go the extra mile during school hours, transporting students, teachers and other staff between the Moshono, Moivaro and Usa River campuses, picking up fresh produce from local suppliers, collecting school equipment and building materials, taking students to medical appointments, driving visitors around town and providing transport for school excursions.

Out and about

…I have seen first-hand the great work Gemma and her team are doing for some of the poorest communities on the Earth. I am pleased to endorse this unique school. Joe Hockey, former Australian Federal Treasurer