Lina can still remember student selection day in late 2006, when she was first told she’d got into St Jude’s.
“It was the happiest day of my life,” says Lina. “I will never forget it.” Now 20-years-old, Lina has been doing her Community Service Year internship at Moivaro Boarding Campus, giving back to the boarding house she called home for four years.
For Lina, Moivaro is still the same as she remembers. The smell of the food, the sound of students preparing for a day at school and the building that became her home.
Now, the boarding campus has become Lina’s second home once again, after choosing to spend her Community Service Year as a St Jude’s boarding parent. The Community Service Program is a way for graduates to give back to St Jude’s and the community in the spirit they received and ‘pay forward’ to those following in their footsteps.
“The biggest thing I have learnt at St Jude’s is the importance of volunteering,” says Lina. “Because I had someone who gave so much to help me and sponsor my scholarship.”
For 12 months Lina will look after the wellbeing of St Jude’s primary students from Standard 5 to Standard7; fostering their life skills and providing valuable advice on study techniques.
“I have been volunteering on my own initiative outside of school since Form 4, teaching a few classes in government schools in my area and helping adults to improve their English,” says Lina. “I’m looking forward to being around St Jude’s students who are in the same situation that I once was.”
It’s been a whirlwind year since Lina graduated from Form 6 in May.
“Finishing exams and secondary school is a breakthrough in my life,” says Lina. “I cried singing our school song on Graduation Day - I was the first person in my family to graduate from secondary school.”
Lina’s education at St Jude’s has also had a big impact on her family, with her parents saving the money they would have spent on her education to afford an upgrade from their rented one-roomed structure built from mud, to a three-bedroomed brick home in a higher social-economic area just outside of Arusha city.
“My education has motivated my mum and dad to work harder,” says Lina. “I remember we sometimes didn’t have meals during my childhood as my father was unemployed, but they are in a much better situation now.”
On average, Tanzanian girls from a poor rural background, will only receive 3.7 years of schooling.For Lina, most of her childhood friends are married with children, while she feels that she is now free to determine her own future.
“I am treated better than other girls in my community because I am educated,” says Lina. “I am proud to be an educated woman.”
But the hard work, doesn’t stop there. On completion of her Community Service Year, Lina will continue being supported by the Beyond St Jude’s program in her first higher education qualification.
Lina hopes to study Community Development at university, with dreams to one day start her own not-for-profit organisation. In the meantime, she will be supporting students on the same journey that has helped her get to where she is today.
Help a young adult like Lina take the next step in their career and give back to the community after graduating. Contact our Beyond St Jude’s team at email@example.com and find out how you can support one of our graduates.