One of the most influential places on campus is the Headmaster’s office. It is here that all decisions, both major and minor about the campus are made. Needless to say, the Headmaster is one of the busiest people on campus.
“I have been in this role for three months," says Mr Tsingay, St Jude’s Secondary School acting Headmaster. “And I can already tell it is an experience like no other!” he adds with a smile.
Mr Tsingay is based at Smith Campus, the largest of St Jude’s three campuses. Smith campus houses classrooms, dormitories, a school farm and livestock-keeping projects, and sports facilities for more than 900 secondary school students and around 112 staff. As Headmaster, he looks after all aspects of the campus and ensures everything runs smoothly.
“I work closely with Deputy Headmasters and Heads of Departments in various divisions and coordinate with other school leaders to stay on top of things,” shares Mr Tsingay. “So, a typical day as a headmaster involves quite a bit of consultation and meetings with fellow leaders,” shares Mr Tsingay with a smile.
Although his current role presents new challenges, Mr Tsingay is prepared for all of it. He credits his passion and the impact of his work on future generations as inspiration that keeps him motivated.
“Having been a teacher for ten years,” reflects Mr Tsingay. “I’ve had the privilege of seeing first-hand the impact that my work has made on many students that have passed through my classes. There is nothing more satisfying than having your students grow to become role models and professionals, helping their communities,” he adds passionately.
Mr Tsingay’s passion for teaching developed, unbeknownst to him, after he completed his secondary school. With a bit of time on his hands ahead of university, he naturally found himself running a small tuition class in his village where he would teach his peers who were still in school.
“It all started as a hobby for me,” Mr Tsingay reflects on his teaching career. “Running the little tuition class back in my village was such a fulfilling activity that I did it for free the entire time. I only asked my students to bring chalk," he adds with a smile.
Although he hadn’t realised it at the time, Mr Tsingay has always harboured deep admiration and love for teachers from a young age. Even as a grown man today, he confesses that he still remembers his first teacher from Standard 1.
“I think the impact that teachers have on students is far-reaching,” shares Mr Tsingay. “We may not always recognise it, but we’ve always had teachers as our role models at certain points in our lives,” he adds.
Despite his busy schedule as acting Headmaster, Mr Tsingay always tries to make time for students. Every once in a while, Mr Tsingay leaves his office and tours the campus; visiting classes, checking on the farm and other projects, the dormitories and catching up with students. He still maintains the friendly demeanour and welcoming smile he’s had for the past 10 years at St Jude’s.
“Sometimes students forget that I am now the Headmaster and they would come into my office for issues that typically belong to the Academics office, which is where I worked previously,” explains Mr Tsingay. “I think we are all adjusting to my new role,” he adds with a smile.
Mr Tsingay’s role as acting Headmaster comes at a time when St Jude’s has enrolled new students in Form 5, the first of the final two years of secondary school education in Tanzania. He takes on the incredible responsibility of maintaining the school’s impressive academic record whilst equipping students with valuable extracurricular skills for their future lives.
The School of St Jude is a vibrant hub of many career opportunities not only in education but also in IT, marketing, finance, procurement, management, human resources, and many others. Over 350 Tanzanian staff are employed at the school’s three campuses to support its many operations.
Mr Mhando is the Operations Senior Manager at St Jude’s, a multi-faceted, dynamic role that looks after our Information Technology systems, fleet, and campus maintenance, growth and infrastructure.
“It is a role that neatly ties together my academic qualifications and professional experience,” says Mr Mhando. “I manage several teams, working in various aspects of the school, so I tend to move around a lot which is quite refreshing,” he adds.
Mr Mhando is passionate about leveraging the power of technology and computer systems to optimise workplace efficiency. He has enjoyed a long and illustrious career in several national and multinational organisations within and beyond Africa.
“My first job after completing my bachelor’s degree in Technology and Computer Science was at an international school where I helped set their IT systems in place,” says Mr Mhando.
Mr Mhando was the first ever IT person hired at the school. In his new role, Mr Mhando pioneered putting the fundamental computer and IT systems in place, incorporated internet connection and helped set up their first computer laboratory.
“I feel incredibly honoured to have kicked off my career working in a school because I am very passionate about education and its potential for future generations,” reflects Mr Mhando.
Mr Mhando’s next adventure would have him managing a team of around 20 people in another pioneering role at one of the largest international conference centres in the country.
“I am fortunate to have led several pioneering roles throughout my career,” says Mr Mhando. “This gave me the freedom to mould things how I wanted them early on, which made my work easier to run and maintain,” he adds.
Over the years, Mr Mhando worked in several high-profile national and international organisations including the Pan African Parliament, African Commission of Human Rights (later the African Court), and a German development agency. His passion for education and the potential of using his skills to inspire the next generation of aspiring Tanzanian professionals has seen Mr Mhando make his way to St Jude’s.
“Being able to contribute to St Jude’s great mission and vision is truly fulfilling,” reflects Mr Mhando. “I am continually inspired by the transformative power of education constantly at work at St Jude’s. It fills me with plenty of hope for the next generation and the future of my country,” he adds passionately.
Besides work Mr Mhando enjoys writing poems, listening to jazz music, and harbours a deep love and appreciation for nature. He is one of more than 350 Tanzanian staff currently at St Jude’s putting their skills to work, fighting poverty through education.
Stationed at the entrance gate to St Jude’s Sisia Campus in Moshono is Israel, a security guard of 15 years. Israel’s contagious smile and friendly personality is the first impression that staff, students, and visitors get as they arrive at the school.
“I love my job,” says Israel. “It is what I have always wanted to do,” he adds with a smile.
St Jude’s security guards keep the school property, staff and students safe at all hours. In addition to this, they’re the first people visitors meet when they come to St Jude’s.
Israel’s journey to becoming a security officer started in the early 1990s, when he opted to join a civic security training program. There he learnt basic combat training and other skills such as team work and self-discipline.
“By the time I completed my training, I knew I was going to be working as a security guard,” recalls Israel. “But I never thought I would have such a fulfilling and rewarding career ahead of me at St Jude’s,” he adds.
In Tanzania, uniformed guards are referred to by their Kiswahili name, askari. Traditionally, askaris are known for their serious character, but Israel has gained some perspective after working at St Jude’s.
“As a security officer, I thought I had to be serious all the time,” says Israel. “But at St Jude’s, I realised that I could smile and enjoy my time even when I’m on duty,” he adds with a smile.
St Jude’s impact on Israel’s life doesn’t just stop there. Working at St Jude’s has enabled him to build a house for his family, take his six children to school and university, and explore his passion in agriculture.
“My journey with St Jude’s has been one improvement after another,” reflects Israel. “It is incredible,” he adds.
Along with Israel is Melami, St Jude’s security officer of five years. For Melami, coming to work is something he looks forward to.
“I love interacting with people,” says Melami. “As a security guard, I have the privilege of meeting different people every day so it’s very fulfilling,” adds Melami with a smile.
Melami has a long working history with St Jude’s. Prior to working as a security officer, Melami served as a cook for nine months and later worked in the library for five years. These roles equipped Melami with skills that he now applies to his current position.
“Working at St Jude’s has improved my English and communication skills greatly,” says Melami. “I can now speak confidently with a vast variety of people from all over the world,” he proudly adds.
As the first contact of for all visitors to St Jude’s, Israel’s gentle smile and Melami’s charm serve as the perfect introduction to the school’s values and way of life.
Around 6:40am every weekday, the engines of St Jude’s buses start roaring. Soon, the bright yellow vehicles make their way out of St Jude’s campuses. They return around two hours later, this time full of students and staff, ready to start the day.
Between St Jude’s Smith and Sisia Campuses, St Jude’s buses transport staff and students to and from school, to sports matches and excursions, covering about 1,600 kilometres every day.
“Waking up at 5am in the morning has become a habit for me,” says Kaungame, a St Jude’s driver of 10 years.
Kaungame is the Assistant Supervisor of all St Jude’s drivers. His primary work station is at Smith Campus, where he oversees a team of four drivers.
“Transportation is an essential part of any institution or school,” says Kaungame. “In addition to organising regular transport, I make sure there is always a standby emergency transport. That way, even if a student suddenly falls ill, quick transport to the hospital is always available.”
Over at Sisia Campus is Chief Supervisor, Severin. He is one of St Jude’s first drivers, having spent 18 years at the school!
Severin coordinates all transport logistics at Sisia Campus.
St Jude’s takes the safety of students very seriously. One of the most important tasks of the supervisor is making sure that all St Jude’s vehicles are up to the required standards in safety and compliance. The supervisor prepares a daily report on the state of all vehicles.
“My favourite part of the job is driving students,” says Severin, “but as the supervisor, I also take on administrative tasks.”
The administrative part of his job has allowed Severin to gain new skills.
“I can now use the computer to write emails, request replacements, prepare reports, and so forth. I didn’t know any of these when I first started at St Jude’s” says Severin.
For Kaungame, the favourite part of his job is interacting with the students.
“They usually sing on the way back home from school,” says Kaungame. “There’s nothing like happy students singing to cap off your day. It is something I look forward to.”
Severin and Kaungame manage a team of 20 drivers and oversee a fleet of 32 vehicles, including 26 school buses. Their punctuality, responsibility, and commitment keep St Jude’s transport logistics working smoothly.
As the people behind the wheel, St Jude’s bus drivers steer students towards moral and intellectual leadership.
"When I first joined St Jude's I was given the role of photographer," Rachael recalls.
"Being a photographer was the best way to get to know the school," she explains... "I was part of every excursion, each event, and I was in the classrooms and in buses. I also organised schedules for other professional photographers who visited the school."
Rachael joined The School of St Jude in 2012. She gradually rose through the ranks to become the Donors and Sponsors Relations Manager, now leading a team of 21.
"As a Donor and Sponsor Relations Manager, my core responsibility is to ensure that we have quality communication with our donors and sponsors, thanking them for the donations and sponsorships, and updating them on the impact of their support," states Rachael.
Rachael leads three teams; the Sponsor Relations team which deals with sponsors of students’ and graduates’ academic scholarships; the Donor Relations team which deals with monthly donors and those who fundraise or spread the word about St Jude's; and the Supporter Relations team who deal with some of the school’s most generous supporters.
“Working for an organisation that has a great mission and vision and seeing that we are making a difference motivates me to keep going and stay dedicated,” Rachael says.
St Jude’s offers academic scholarships to students who come from considerably poor backgrounds yet demonstrate academic promise and a great attitude towards studies. The school receives help from supporters through sponsorships of students and graduates, donations that help cover costs in areas where they are most needed, fundraising, or through sharing St Jude's story with others.
“My parents have supported two students academically since their primary school years,” states Rachael.
“I have watched these two students go through all of their primary school while I’m working at St Jude’s and they are now in Form 2 which is O Level,” she adds.
As the end of the school year approaches, it is tradition for students to send letters, postcards, and Christmas greetings to sponsors and donors. However, for the past two years, these physical letters have not been posted due to travel restrictions.
“I plan to go to Australia for a couple of weeks to see my family and I will be taking back more than 2,000 letters from our students to send to sponsors and donors in Australia via Australian post," Rachael says.
“Thank you to all our supporters in Australia, America, and everywhere else in the world who helped the school and remained loyal and supportive during the past two challenging years.”
“I would like to wish all of our sponsors and donors a merry Christmas and a happy new year,” she adds.
St Jude’s rely entirely on the generosity of supporters from around the world to make the school’s mission of providing free, quality education for 1,800 bright, poor students a reality.
It would be hard to find an Australian who hasn’t got one eye on current COVID-19 vaccination rates. Many supporters have reached out to St Jude’s to ask about how Tanzania is addressing the pandemic and the availability of vaccines.
While eligible Australians were first able to access vaccinations in February this year, the vaccine didn’t become available in Tanzania until late July. The cost of purchasing vaccines has put them out of reach of many developing countries, but when Samia Suluhu Hassan assumed the presidency of Tanzania in March, she made sourcing vaccines a priority.
After talks with her US counterparts, President Samia secured a donation of one million Johnson and Johnson vaccines for Tanzanians with hopes for more to follow. Arusha, where St Jude’s is located, was among the first regions to receive vaccines due to its status as a tourist destination. The vaccine requires a single dose and is freely available to those adults who wish to be vaccinated.
Since the arrival of the vaccines almost 900,000 Tanzanians have been vaccinated, however this accounts for a small fraction of the total population of almost 60 million people. Around 1.5% of Tanzanians have been vaccinated, in comparison to 75.5% of Australians over 16 years old.
St Jude’s staff were among some of the first to be vaccinated. When it was found that staff who wished to be vaccinated were struggling to find time during their busy days to visit a vaccination centre, St Jude’s organised for two busloads of staff to visit a vaccination centre in Arusha.
Liz, who works in the Head Office, thanking the school’s generous donors, was looking forward to receiving her vaccination.
“I contracted COVID-19 twice, but the first time was the worse experience I have ever been through. I stayed in bed for almost two weeks. So, when the opportunity to get vaccinated presented itself, I didn’t think twice because I didn’t want to get sick anymore.” Liz explains of her decision.
In late September, St Jude’s staff requested for another vaccination day. This time, the school provided an opportunity for those who wished to get vaccinated at Sisia Campus, the site of the primary and girls’ secondary schools.
Moses, a gardener at Sisia Campus, was one of the staff members who decided to get the vaccination during September after seeing many of his colleagues get vaccinated the previous month.
“I decided to get vaccinated to protect my health,” he shares. “It did hurt at first but only for the first day. I feel so happy and safe now that I am vaccinated.” (Translated from Kiswahili)
Still other staff have organised their own vaccinations outside of work hours.
Of surveyed staff throughout the St Jude’s, more than 35% are vaccinated and a further 34% plan to get their vaccination soon.
As a country which relies heavily on tourism, Tanzania has struggled during travel restrictions. Many St Jude’s students’ parents have lost work as porters, guides and hotel cleaners as the flow of tourists stopped abruptly. However, the country’s slowly growing vaccination rate offers hope for the return of safari-goers, Kilimanjaro-climbers and most importantly, visitors to St Jude’s.
It’s inarguable that Tanzania’s vaccination rate is far lower than those of developed nations, like the US and Australia. However, it’s expected that vaccination rates will continue to increase as more vaccines become available. Vaccination remains entirely optional for St Jude’s staff and Tanzanian citizens in general.