Using human hair to address environmental concerns might seem like a far-fetched idea. However, David (Class of 2019), is recycling human hair and converting it into fertiliser!
David recently completed Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) Community Service Year, teaching physics and biology to approximately 900 students in a Tanzanian government school.
“During my Community Service Year, I found a passion to help the community around me. I also strengthened my passion for recycling hair into usable products for both construction and agriculture industries,” David explained.
“The hair we collect is from local hair salons or from school campus. We have started a business and now have employees who collect human hair for us.”
As a result of his ingenuity, David was recognised as one of Africa’s Top 20 Young Entrepreneurs through a prestigious international competition. His business venture takes its roots here at St Jude’s, when David and his friend, Ojung’u (Class of 2019), first showcased their idea at St Jude’s Science Day in 2018.
“Ojung’u and I collected human hair and were proud to launch the project at Science Day. We came out as second overall winners out of all the students at Smith Campus!” David grinned.
David and Ojung’u oversee 17 employees and collaborate with more than 100 workers who collect hair for them. Their biggest dream is to conserve the environment, support his community and lift his family out of poverty.
St Jude’s Community Service Year through Beyond St Jude’s is a program that supports graduates through higher education. The program provides an opportunity for these graduates to pay it forward by volunteering their time teaching and supporting over 10,000 government school students each year.
St Jude’s is at the forefront of championing female students, so that they can be tomorrow’s leaders in a range of fields. Herieth (Class of 2018) is a true inspiration to her fellow female students wanting to pursue studies in science. Her achievements at St Jude’s earned her a full Beyond St Jude’s Tertiary scholarship to study a Bachelor of Science with Education at the University Dar es Salaam.
“I’m truly happy to have earnt this scholarship. It’s lifted a heavy burden from my parents. The money that was meant to contribute to my university education is now going towards my siblings’ education,” Herieth shared, her eyes glistening with tears of gratitude.
“My dream is to become a Science teacher. I would like to come back to St Jude’s and teach upper classes, especially Advanced Level,” she added.
Herieth joined in Form 1 – her first year of secondary school. She’d endured the rigours of a government primary school education and was among only a small number of students to achieve one of St Jude’s highly contested scholarship places when she applied.
“The first time I heard of St Jude’s, I came for Standard 1 and 2 selection. Unfortunately, I didn’t pass the test. When I graduated from Standard 7, my results were good and I received a letter from St Jude’s inviting me to come for an entrance exam and interview. On Student Selection day, there were more than 900 students, but I was lucky enough to pass the test this time and receive the opportunity to join the school,” Herieth explained.
Before Herieth started university, she joined BSJ’s Community Service Year. Herieth taught chemistry to more than 100 students at a government secondary school. She sometimes even taught Advanced Level subjects, if there was no registered teacher available.
“Without St Jude’s I’m not sure what my life would be. I look at my peers and all the girls I studied with at primary school are now either married or divorced with children and they are having a hard time surviving,” Herieth shared.
“I truly thank Mama Gemma, my sponsors, all donors and other supporters. They are helping people like myself run away from this cycle of poverty. Without education, life is too hard,” she added. Both David and Herieth are working towards achieving their goals and fulfilling their purposes of helping their communities to fight poverty through the free and high quality education provided by St Jude’s, shaping up to become outstanding role models and intellectual leaders of Tanzania.
Sponsor a St Jude's graduate taking part in the Beyond St Jude’s Community Service Year