April 17, 2024

Challenging the Status Quo

St Jude’s alum reflects on her inspirational journey of succeeding in a male-dominated field.

Living the Dream: Holylight now works as an IT consultant at one of the world’s largest organisations.

Like most students joining St Jude’s in Standard 1, Holylight’s favourite place was at the sports field. She loved playing football and carried that passion throughout her secondary school years.

“I immediately fell in love with the PE lessons and particularly enjoyed playing football,” says Holylight. “I used to give it my all, rain or shine!” she adds with a smile. 

The resources and opportunities at St Jude’s paved the way for Holylight to try out different activities and develop various skills throughout her 13-year spell. Some of her fond memories include exploring her creativity in art lessons. 

“Even though I don't remember creating the best art pieces, there was something magical about seeing your own artwork displayed on the walls of the classroom,” says Holylight. 

In addition to art and sports, Holylight spent her time sharpening her computer skills, particularly typing. She still remembers playing the old penguin typing game and Ubuntu Operating Systems in her early St Jude’s days. This experience inspired Holylight to start developing a passion for computer studies and upon graduating from secondary school, she was confident in choosing a career in IT. 

Good Old Times: Holylight enjoying a computer class in her early St Jude’s days.

“The fact that I had an opportunity to engage with computers from a young age greatly shaped my choice of career,” reflects Holylight. “St Jude’s offered an environment where learning was not just a process but an experience. The strong foundation equipped me with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to navigate the challenges in STEM fields,” she adds. 

St Jude’s promotes the education and empowerment of girls at the school and tertiary levels. In January 2020, St Jude’s opened a girls’ secondary school to grant even more females the opportunity for free, quality education. The new school particularly encourages female students to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects for it’s recognised that more Tanzanian women leaders are needed in these fields.

In 2024, the Standard 1 and 2 intake of girls was 60%. St Jude’s also boasts an equal ratio of female and male students entering tertiary education in contrast to the national figures of approximately 1-to-28. 

“Throughout my journey, I've often found myself in environments where women were underrepresented,” says Holylight. “One particularly vivid memory is being the only female in my master's class, surrounded by seven male peers,” she adds. 

Despite the challenges, Holylight successfully pursued tertiary studies in IT from one of Africa’s reputable universities. She went on to secure a highly sought-after internship at the World Bank, an opportunity she took concurrently with her Master’s research. While at university, Holylight helped develop an innovative prototype mobile application that aimed at helping victims of violence report incidents to legal and social stakeholders.

“At times, I would take the underrepresentation as a challenge,” reflects Holylight. “But I've come to see it more as an opportunity—an open call for more women to join the ranks of STEM professionals,” she adds.

Remember the Name: Holylight is undeterred and remains motivated despite challenges in her journey. 

Holylight is currently working as an IT consultant at the World Bank, where she is part of a team responsible for managing software assets. A typical day at work involves diving into huge volumes of data using a variety of tools and technologies. The scale and complexity of the datasets challenges her to think creatively and analytically.

Despite having a thriving career at one of the world’s largest corporations, Holylight is far from done. 

“My ambitions are crystallised around academia. I'm particularly drawn to the realms of Generative AI and Big Data Analytics,” says Holylight. “I'm eagerly looking forward to more research and further studies in these areas,” she adds. 

Holylight’s incredible story exemplifies St Jude’s mission and highlights how empowering females to receive an education and pursue their ambitions has a far-reaching impact throughout the entire country and the world.

Your support to St Jude’s empowers girls to discover their passion, pursue their dreams, challenge the status-quo, and emerge as role models for their communities. Sponsor Today.


  1. I love this article. Such a wonderful achievement and I’m proud to be able to contribute to empowering these women. Congratulations!

    1. Thank you Diane! We are all very proud of her and celebrating her every achievement!

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