Since 2019, 289 St Jude’s alumni have graduated from university or college (we call them tertiary graduates).

Of these, 142 attended university with the support of Beyond St Jude’s, while 147 attended by other means.

Now, these tertiary graduates are entering the workforce!

Where are employed St Jude’s alumni working?

Standing Tall: In less than a year, Jesca has made the transition from student to teacher.

At the front of a classroom of more than 50 students stands Jesca. The students are in Form 1, the first year of secondary school, at a local government school and not one of them has a textbook. They share desks and chairs, and listen quietly as Jesca teaches a lesson in physics.

It’s a challenging situation, but Jesca is accustomed to it. This class is just one of the seven streams of Form 1 she teaches – more than 350 students in total. Such a teaching load is remarkable, particularly when one considers that Jesca was a St Jude’s secondary student herself less than twelve months ago. 

Today, Jesca is a proud Community Service Year (CSY) volunteer.

The CSY is the first part of Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ), St Jude’s program to support graduates through to their completion of their first tertiary qualification. A challenging and rewarding year, the CSY is a time for St Jude’s Form 6 graduates to give back to the community through volunteer work, before commencing tertiary studies. Some volunteers give their time and skills in non-academic roles on campus at St Jude’s, while the majority choose to volunteer as teachers in government schools. 

Motivated to Give Back: Jesca enjoys helping others and is learning along the way.

“My biggest motive to join the CSY was to give back to society,” shares Jesca. “There are students out here who need someone to teach them, to mentor them, to share knowledge with them. I get to share what I have learned at school.”

Since the program started in 2015, 636 volunteers have taught 85,000 government school students at more than 100 schools in the community. These students would otherwise have found themselves without teachers in core subjects, like mathematics and sciences.  

There is a particular need for science teachers, which means Jesca’s knowledge as a former PCM (physics, chemistry and mathematics) student is in high demand. Even so, she was apprehensive about teaching physics. 

“At first, I actually wanted to teach mathematics and chemistry, but my school already had teachers for those subjects. They said they needed a physics teacher, so I said, ‘Ok’. Then I wondered, ‘Will I be able to do this?’ But then I thought, ‘People say girls can’t do physics but I studied physics for A Level. So, I decided I would teach it to show girls that they can study science subjects and that physics is not too hard,” Jesca smiles.

When teaching such large classes with limited resources, challenges are sure to arise, but Jesca meets them with a can-do attitude. 

Extra Help: Despite having a large number of students to teach, Jesca tries her best to help those who need additional attention.

“I’ve been able to handle every challenge so far,” she says. “One thing is, it can be hard to manage so many students, but I talked to some experienced teachers at the school where I teach and asked them, ‘How can I handle these particular types of students?’ I also use the skills I learnt during the Work Readiness training week with BSJ.”

During the training week, Jesca and her fellow CSY teaching volunteers received instruction in classroom management, lesson preparation and basic teaching skills.

“The biggest challenge is to attend to every student. You have 40 minutes and you have to teach and reach all your fifty students. But in each class there are different types of students. There are some who can hear you and just ‘get it’ straight away. Then there are some who need close assistance but you can’t divide 40 minutes to speak individually to 50 students,” she says.

Getting to Know You: Jesca finds time to discover her students’ talents.

Despite these challenges, Jesca finds ways to engage students on an individual level. She explains, “I love spending time with the students, getting to know their talents. There are some who can draw, who can sing well or even compose songs. I try to use their talents in their studies to help them be more engaged.”

It’s not just Jesca’s students who are learning; this year has been full of growth for Jesca too. In a few short months, she has transformed from a secondary student into a teacher. Soon, she’ll be transformed again, when she becomes a university student. Jesca hopes to study chemical engineering.

“The CSY is preparing me for the future. I have learnt to make my own decisions, because when I am teaching, I have all the responsibility. I’m learning to be responsible for myself and for the community. Now I can see that society needs people who see the challenges we are facing and then takes action to solve them,” she smiles.

It’s a mature insight for a 19 year old, but not uncommon among CSY volunteers. First and foremost, the CSY is a way to give back to the community, but through their service, volunteers get the opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Teaching and Learning: Jesca and her fellow CSY volunteers Mohammed, Dainess and Yasin, who all teach in the same government school.

This year of community service after their Form 6 graduation gives volunteers, like Jesca, time to challenge themselves, to learn the true meaning of responsibility and to engage with the community as young adults. While challenging, it’s an experience few would trade, as shown by Jesca’s closing words.

“I would tell Form 6 students to do the CSY. People out there are really grateful for what we’re doing and it’s a blessing to help people. It’s a really great experience to make a change in someone’s life.”

Proud Moment: Beyond St Jude's (BSJ) Tertiary graduates leaping with joy on their graduation day.

It’s a big moment, today is the day the first seven St Jude’s educated doctors graduate from university. In the audience are school Founder, Gemma Sisia, managers, Mr Mcharo and Mrs Vivian and proud parents. They cheer as the graduates receive their certificates, marking the end of a long academic journey and the beginning of a promising future.

The Beyond St Jude's (BSJ) Program has supported these graduates since their graduation from secondary school; first, through a Community Service Year (CSY) and then a tertiary degree, funding accommodation, tuition and related costs. It is an optional, yet popular program for secondary school graduates from St Jude’s.

From Students to Doctors: Hosiana (second right) and her fellow Beyond St Jude’s Tertiary scholars taking their oath to become doctors during graduation.

Hosiana is a BSJ Tertiary graduate who joined St Jude’s in 2004 and completed her secondary education in 2015. For the last five years, she has been pursuing her degree in medicine as a BSJ Tertiary scholar.

Beaming with excitement during her graduation ceremony, Hosiana explains, "I have always wanted to become a doctor. I feel so lucky to be the first doctor in my family and the first person in my family to have a university degree."

 “Without the free, quality education I received at St Jude's, I would not have achieved my dream of becoming a doctor," she adds.

Farewell Speech: Hosiana delivers a farewell speech during her graduation ceremony.

Hosiana, who is smart and hard-working, was proud to be named Valedictorian of her graduating class; one the highest academic honours in her university. 

"I would like to thank the school, the management and all the sponsors and supporters for giving me and my fellow Tanzanians free, quality education from primary to higher education. Because of your support, I have everything to be a doctor,” says Hosiana during her Valedictorian speech.

 “Now I’m ready to be a doctor for my country. I'm currently doing my internship at one of the largest hospitals in Tanzania for a year,” she explains.

“I am looking forward to putting on that white coat, helping my community, and also working toward funding my master’s degree,” she adds.

Last year, the BSJ Program celebrated the graduations of 87 scholars, its third and largest cohort of Tertiary scholars since the first university graduations in 2019. 

Ready to Serve: Beyond St Jude's Tertiary scholars ready to serve and lift their communities out of poverty.

To date, the BSJ Program has produced seven graduate doctors who are doing their residencies. The program has also produced six engineers, five in community development, six in marketing, four teachers and six in accounting and finance, just to name a few and BSJ currently supports 299 scholars in tertiary studies. 

BSJ Tertiary scholars and graduates are an inspiration to the next generation of St Jude’s secondary graduates, helping to guide them towards a future of opportunity.

Seeing alumni in the corridors of The School of St Jude is not surprising. Many are eager to give back to the school in any way they can, embodying the true spirit of giving.

At St Jude’s, an alum is a student who successfully graduated from Form 6 (A Level) (or Form 4 (O Level) graduates who have reached Form 6 age). St Jude’s graduates are alumni whether they participate in the Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) Program (an optional scholarship program for our secondary graduates) or not.

The school has more than 800 alumni. Many alumni are enrolled in higher education in Tanzania, while more than 30 are studying abroad. In addition, many alumni are now tertiary graduates, working within East Africa.

Of these, 80% are working in crucial sectors to ensure Tanzania’s prosperity, including engineering, health, information technology, education, finance, and accounting. 20% are self-employed and have generated employment opportunities for over 150 people within their communities.

Alumni Reconnecting
Alumni Reconnecting: St Jude's alum, Edna (middle), reconnecting with fellow alumni.

Through the St Jude’s Spirit Program, St Jude’s alumni are dedicated to supporting the school financially and non-financially in the same spirit with which they received their free, quality education.

St Jude’s Spirit Program is a movement that unites St Jude’s diverse family of change makers – students, staff, families, local community, alumni and our international supporters; with one mission of fighting poverty through education.

“The Alumni Spirit Program that is managed by Alumni Association was started in 2018 with the aim to assist unsponsored students and help the school both financially and non-financially,” says Edna.

The Alumni Association of The School of St Jude exists to promote the mission, vision, educational and community aims of St Jude’s to our graduates. The association also provides opportunities for members to network, offers training and skill development, share employment opportunities and organises social activities.

Edna is a St Jude’s alum herself and now works in the Alumni team, engaging with fellow alumni and making sure graduates’ achievements are recorded. “I graduated from Form 6 in 2015. As a proud member of the St Jude’s Spirit Program, I support the school financially by donating AU$3 every month.”

The school currently has more than 100 alumni donating through the St Jude’s Spirit Program. Alumni donations are predominantly allocated towards St Jude’s Unsponsored Student Fund, which funds uniforms, transport and learning resources for students whose scholarships are currently unsponsored.

“Alumni also support the school non-financially by sacrificing their time to assist in various school departments, help in fundraising activities and spreading the word about the school,” explains Edna.

St Jude’s has more than 200 alumni volunteering at St Jude’s. Some are teachers, sports coaches and some help with organising alumni events.

Inspiring Others
Inspiring Others: Tatu, a St Jude's alum, speaks a word of encouragement to the other alumni during the Alumni Reunion.

Tatu is an alum who completed her A Level education in 2021. She now volunteers in the Alumni team and she’s a member of the Alumni Spirit Program.

“I feel obliged to give back to my community after acquiring a free, quality education from St Jude’s. My community needs me to support them,” says Tatu.

“Currently I’m supporting the school both financially by donating AU$3 each month and non-financially by volunteering in the Alumni team,” adds Tatu.

Tatu, who is volunteering through the BSJ Program, hopes to one day sponsor a student once she becomes a successful accountant.

“Volunteering has been part and parcel in my life. Once I’m blessed with enough resources to sponsor a student’s scholarship I will be glad to sponsor one or even two students. As a former St Jude’s student, I am proof that education changes lives and I would like to transform the lives of my younger sisters and brothers,” explains Tatu.

Alumni are the heart and soul of the organisation, carrying the school’s legacy. Their spirit of giving is a testimony to a St Jude’s education that creates hope for the future of Tanzania.

House of Cards
House of Cards: Alumni playing cards during their annual Alumni Reunion.

Judica’s story of transformation runs parallel to St Jude’s own. When Judica started at St Jude’s in 2003, there was one campus and less than 100 students. Today, Judica visits as a successful banker and St Jude’s comprises three schools, three campuses, a ground-breaking graduate program and more than 800 alumni.

In 2003, Judica was just eight years old. One day, her brother Ezekiel lifted her onto his motorbike and brought her to St Jude’s for a Student Selection Day. Judica’s family knew that the school was offering free, quality education to students from poor families and hoped she would receive a scholarship too.

“There were so many of us at home – we were nine children and I am the ninth. You can imagine it – all of us in the same house – and life was not so good. My parents were farmers, but they were farming on a very small scale. The harvests were little and it wasn’t enough,” she recalls.

When Judica was offered a St Jude’s scholarship it was a huge relief.

Each day, Judica walked to school. While the school has 26 buses today, at that stage there was only one. Since 2004, all students and staff have enjoyed daily hot lunch at school, but in those early days Judica and her classmates walked home for lunch as the school didn’t yet have a kitchen!

Since then, a lot has changed for St Jude’s and for Judica. “If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I started at school, I would have said, ‘A policewoman’,” she laughs. When Judica reached secondary school, however, she discovered a talent for business.

Early Days: Judica (back row, centre) with her class, Gemma Sisia and first volunteer teachers in 2003.

It wasn’t just her career aspirations which changed as Judica progressed through St Jude’s. Her story changed as she sought leadership opportunities and worked towards her future. Judica moved from primary school to O Level (the first four years of secondary school) and then A Level (the final two years of secondary school). Voted Head Girl in both O Level and A Level, Judica gained opportunities to practise her role as a future leader. In her final school years, she studied book keeping, commerce and accounting.

In 2015, after 13 years of free education, Judica completed secondary school with the inaugural graduating class. She remembers week-long celebrations with crowds of supporters arriving from all over the world to be there.

Ever a pioneer, Judica was one of the first students to take part in the Community Service Year (CSY). The CSY is the first year of the Beyond St Jude’s Program (BSJ) for Form 6 graduates. During the CSY, participants volunteer their time as teachers in government schools or in non-teaching placements throughout St Jude’s campuses. Judica taught book keeping and commerce at a government secondary school. “It was the best moment of my time with St Jude’s as I was giving back to the community,” she says.

Judica’s year of volunteering made a big impact on her students. She explains, “In local schools most students don’t make it to A Level, but most of my students passed and reached A Level. Many even made it to college, so I thank St Jude’s for that.”

A Transformational Day: Judica graduates from university in 2019

Soon it was time for Judica to begin her degree at the University of Dar Es Saalam, supported by Beyond St Jude’s. “BSJ helped with the whole process of applications for universities. They visited us at university to see how we were doing. That was really encouraging, to know that we had people who really cared about us, even after we finished school.”

In 2019, Judica proudly graduated from university with a Bachelor of Commerce in Banking and Financial Services and her family and BSJ representatives made the trip to celebrate. “It was so exciting,” she shares.
After university, Judica began working. “I was lucky because I got my first job just one week after I graduated. I was offered a job in one of the commercial banks as a Bank Officer,” she smiles. In a country where youth unemployment is high, this is a testament to Judica’s drive and great education.

Lifelong Friendships: Judica catches up with a fellow Class of 2015 alum, Anna, who is now employed at St Jude’s.

After a year, an opportunity arose at the prestigious Bank of Tanzania, where Judica happily works today. With her salary, Judica lives independently and provides her family financial support. Her older siblings are working and things have improved for her parents. “They are living comfortably now. My parents are still farming, yes, but on a larger scale, and it’s enough,” Judica reports.

In just eight months, Judica has grown into her new role, which takes her all over Tanzania. She is based in Arusha but also travels to Zanzibar and the capital, Dodoma, for work. Despite this busy schedule, Judica is happy to make time for her school, organising a trip home to film an interview for St Jude’s.

Just as St Jude’s been transformed since its beginnings, so too has Judica. With a free, quality education and her commitment to making the most of each opportunity offered to her, Judica has realised the St Jude’s vision. Where a bright but poor student once stood, now stands a young leader, fighting poverty in Tanzania.

The School of St Jude is blessed with many alumni coming back to work at the school as employees. Whether it be in classrooms, sports grounds or offices, the returning alumni are supporting the next graduates of St Jude's.

The school recently welcomed back Daudi, Innocent D and Innocent M, who are now full-time employees within St Jude’s Head Office.

They all received free, quality education from Standard 1 to Form 6 and then were supported through higher education by the Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) Program. Now, they wish to give back to the school’s community and share their stories of transformation.

In Tanzania, there are three stages of school; seven years of primary school from Standard 1 to 7, then four years of secondary school from Form 1 to 4 in Ordinary level (O Level) studies, and finally the final two years of secondary school, Form 5 and 6 in Advanced Level (A Level) studies.

The BSJ Program supports secondary graduates to undertake a Community Service placement and then provides them with the funding and support for their first higher education qualification.

Daudi, employed in the Human Resources team

Daudi joined St Jude’s in 2004 when he was in Standard 2. Throughout his school life, he showed a natural aptitude for leadership.
“I’ve always liked taking up leadership roles since I was young. I was Head Boy in Standard 6, Minister for Social Welfare in Form 2 and Minister for Environment in Form 5, so I always loved to lead,” Daudi says with a smile.

Leadership is a prominent skill that St Jude’s promotes amongst its students – nurturing the community-focused leaders of tomorrow.

“During my Community Service Year (CSY), I taught commerce and booking to more than 133 students in one class and I had to teach three streams. Before I completed my CSY, I established a leadership club at the government school; the club is still active, and in my spare time I pass by to check on its progress,” Daudi explains.
He adds, “After I completed my tertiary education in Uganda through Beyond St Jude’s, I wanted to come back and help. When the HR manager called me and said there’s a lot to assist with here at St Jude’s, I didn’t hesitate! I quickly applied for the position and I got the job.”

Daudi’s childhood began living in a two-room, mud home in a rural village on the outskirts of Arusha. He believes if it weren't for his St Jude's education, he would not have had the chance to reach his full potential.

“St Jude’s is a life-transforming place. Personally, if it wasn’t for a free, quality education it would’ve been a far-fetched dream to get my bachelor’s degree in Uganda. Because of St Jude’s, I haven’t had to struggle financially for my education like many of my peers. I’m forever grateful to be part of the St Jude’s family,” Daudi attests.

Innocent D, employed in the Beyond St Jude’s team

Innocent D joined St Jude’s in 2004 when he was in Standard 1 and completed his final year of secondary school, Form 6, in 2017.

“My St Jude’s experience was amazing because I received everything at school. My only duty was to study. This also helped lift a huge load off my father, and he was able to educate the rest of my siblings," says Innocent D.

Innocent D graduated from university in 2020, and he’s currently working the Beyond St Jude’s team (BSJ); the team who supported him through his higher education. Now, he follows up on the academic progress and social wellbeing of the 292 current tertiary scholars studying in 42 institutions across Tanzania.

“I’m glad to be back. This is my chance to give back and appreciate what the sponsors and donors did for me – helping me get free, quality education from primary through to my higher education. It is my way of thanking everyone for supporting me,” Innocent D explains.

Innocent D, who is no stranger to the BSJ team says, “For my Community Service Year (CSY), I first volunteered at a government school, where I taught history to more than 60 students in one class. Afterwards, I volunteered in the BSJ team for six months. This allowed me to gain experience in both a teaching and office environment."

“I applied for the job after receiving an email from the Alumni team informing me that BSJ was looking for a candidate. It's great to have this chance to help my younger brothers and sisters.”

“Thanks to this job, I am now able to provide for my family and help my father educate two of my siblings who are still in school,” Innocent D adds.

Innocent M, employed in the Accounts team

"I remember reading a book called ‘Peter and Jane’ for my entrance exam on St Jude’s Selection Day," says Innocent M with a smile.

Innocent M joined St Jude's in 2004 as a Standard 2 student. After completing Form 6, he went on to pursue higher education in commerce and accounting through Beyond St Jude’s. Now, he’s back working in the Accounts team, receiving generous donations and sponsorships from supporters all of over the world.

“When the position became open in finance, I was volunteering at Smith Campus as a teacher while I waited to officially graduate from the university. I immediately applied, went for the interview and, I got in! I was so happy!” Innocent M recalls.

“Most of my friends either ended their education in Form 4 or opted to do something else… and that could’ve easily been me if it wasn’t for St Jude’s. Now, I’m working here and I’m receiving a salary, my life and my family’s life has changed.”

Daudi, Innocent D and Innocent M are just a few alumni whose lives have been transformed… a true testament to breaking the cycle of poverty through education!

With your support, we can continue to change the story for thousands of students and higher education graduates, creating a pathway out of poverty for the youth of Tanzania.