Californian garages are so 20th Century. The big tech breakthroughs of the 21st Century could come from humble homes of mud and sticks, on the outskirts of Arusha.
Samson in Grade 7 wants to be a businessman and IT entrepreneur, “bigger than Bill Gates”.
In a country with one of the lowest rates of computer ownership and internet access in the world, this is an ambition of Goliath proportions but one St Jude’s actively supports.
“When you know much about computers there is no end to your possibilities, like Bill Gates who took so many steps in his life, you can change the world,” Samson said.
At St Jude’s computer classes start from Grade 1. With students coming from the poorest homes in Arusha, it is often their first and only point of access to computers.
“The first time I saw a computer was at St Jude’s,” said Samson, whose family home does not have electricity or running water.
“I was so excited, even though I didn’t understand it, now I know how to do so many things and when I am at home I am always thinking about the possibilities of computers.”
Elineema Kileo teaches computer class at our primary campus. His favourite age group to teach is Grade 1.
“When a Grade 1 student uses a word processor for the very first time and sees their words coming together on a computer, it’s like magic. They want to learn everything.”
Mr Kileo points to computer literacy as instrumental to Tanzania’s future development and his students’ success in the changing job market.
“When you think of medicine, when you think of engineering, when you think of tourism and art; they all need computers, that’s why I think computer education is very important and the earlier the better,” he said.
Investment in quality learning resources, especially computers, is already paying dividends for St Jude’s students and has been recognized nationally.
For the past three years, our students have successfully competed in the Tanzania Young Scientist (TYS) competition, excelling in the technology category with inventions such as SMS Voting software, a hybrid generator and a smart phone app that remotely controls households.
Last year Emiliana (Form 6) and Neema (Form 3) were invited to Rwanda to participate in intensive workshops with IT industry leaders from Intel and Microsoft.
Both young women were recognized among a field of 120 delegates from nine countries, for their efforts during workshops on programming, technological innovation and entrepreneurship.