June 27, 2024

Impacting the Community, One Child at a Time

Tabitha's powerful story of resilience, passion, and leadership.

Leading by Example: Tabitha is an entrepreneur, a university scholar, and a leading changemaker in her community.

After more than 12 years at St Jude's, Tabitha was ready to embark on her next adventure – pursuing her dreams at university. So, in 2020, 22-year-old Tabitha travelled to Tabora, a town in central Tanzania, for her tertiary studies. But as she soon found, the transition wasn't easy.  

"I have always been a big city girl," says Tabitha, who, until this time, had spent her entire life in Arusha, one of Tanzania's biggest cities and a vibrant tourist hub. "Tabora felt small and didn't resemble Arusha at all. My first impression of the place was a little underwhelming," she adds.

Nevertheless, Tabitha embraced the change. Later, she realised that the town's rural, remote setting was the perfect place to put her skills and knowledge to good use.  

"In retrospect, Tabora was exactly where I needed to be to make the change I wanted to see," reflects Tabitha. "I've always been passionate about helping special groups within the community; specifically those denied access because of their disabilities."

In just three years, Tabitha went from a novice university student in a new town to an inspiration in the community. She established a reputable nursery and daycare centre that caters to children under the age of seven, including those with disabilities and learning challenges.

"It all started from a deep desire to help children in need, especially those with disabilities," reflects Tabitha. "I noticed that these children were not being taken to school because their parents felt as though they were wasting money. So, I figured there needs to be a daycare in the community where these parents could see their children thriving as much as the other children that go to school," she adds passionately. 

Her business started in 2022 with just five students. Tabitha's resolve to make the centre a vibrant and special place for children made it stand out. Her innovative approach to childcare and education, including the use of interactive games, movies, and songs, began making waves in the community. By the end of 2023, the number of children had risen to 20, 10 of whom had already progressed to primary school.

"My best highlight is seeing my students grow in character and academically," says Tabitha proudly. "Students from the centre not only continue to thrive in their primary schools, but they are also setting the bar for academic performance and good behaviour," she adds.

In Tanzania, there persists a negative attitude towards individuals with disabilities, resulting in parents often hiding their children from public view. This deprives them of education and opportunities to socialise with their peers. Tabitha's mission is to bridge this gap and extend educational opportunities to more children with disabilities.

A Heart of Service: Tabitha (back row, second from right) volunteered as a teacher at a government school during her Community Service Year placement.

"It's not always easy to convince parents to take their children with disabilities to school," says Tabitha. "But when they see children with similar circumstances at the centre happy and flourishing academically, it becomes easier to break down some of those negative notions associated with them," she adds.

Tabitha is currently in her final year of university, pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Education in Special Needs. She is one of the many alumni from St Jude's putting her skills to good use and impacting the community. Tabitha hopes to use her education to continue breaking down barriers and make education accessible to all children.

Your sponsorship empowers Beyond St Jude's Scholarship Program (BSJSP) Tertiary scholars to use their skills and knowledge to give back to their communities. Sponsor Today.


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