A Super Supporter: Africa (second from right) proudly showcasing St Jude’s shortly after the 2023 Bridge2Brisbane fundraiser run. 

The Sunday of October 15 was a special one for Africa, an enthusiastic supporter of St Jude’s. He had just competed in a 10 km run and helped raise over AU$5000 for The School of St Jude. 

“I participated in Queensland’s largest fun run to raise funds for St Jude’s,” says Africa. “I completed the run in one piece and raised an impressive AU$5860 – and the count is still rising,” he adds proudly.

Africa, who currently resides in Australia where he works as a senior electrical engineer, has been a long supporter of St Jude’s. He and his wife, Yvette, found out about the school during one of their many trips to Tanzania and immediately became supporters. 

Long-Term Supporters: Africa (right) and his wife (left) have been supporters for 19 years!

“St Jude’s dedication to providing quality education to underprivileged children in Tanzania resonates strongly with my values and aspirations,” says Africa. “I know this because I have experienced it first-hand,” he adds. 

Africa was born and raised in one of the villages along the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, in northern Tanzania. Growing up, he enjoyed playing football and developed a liking for mathematics and science subjects at school.

“Some of my favourite memories were those of my father tutoring me,” shares Africa. “He instilled in me the value of a good education from the beginning. My father would even assign daily learning tasks to reinforce the skills and subjects in the classroom,” he continues.

His father’s efforts paid off and Africa achieved high primary and secondary school results which allowed him to attend the best government schools in Tanzania. This opened up more opportunities for Africa to pursue further studies in the United States and Australia.

“I am deeply grateful to have a parent who believed in the power of education. I want to extend the same spirit to the next generation of aspiring Tanzanian professionals,” says Africa. “This is why I decided to challenge myself in the Bridge2Brisbane fun run this year to raise funds for a cause that is close to my heart,” he adds passionately.

Over the years, Africa and his wife have been ardent supporters of St Jude’s, through sponsorship, organising fundraising activities, and raising awareness. Africa was awarded the Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award for his dedication to assisting his native community in Tanzania, notably his former primary school and advocacy for St Jude’s.

As long-term sponsors, Africa and his wife, Yvette, have personally experienced the transformative journey of a sponsored student at St Jude’s.

“When I learned of St Jude’s and its mission of fighting poverty through education, my wife and I agreed to sponsor a student. I was the first ever Tanzanian sponsor!” says Africa.

“The student we sponsored recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering,” says Africa happily. “This is particularly special because I am an electrical engineer myself, and it is inspiring to know that I had a role in influencing his career choice to follow in my footsteps,” he adds.

Africa's passion for St Jude's mission also inspired the original Brisbane High Rise Rotary Club visit to St Jude’s in 2012, which has now grown to six visits and more than 100 Rotarians being introduced to St Jude’s.Africa is one of many St Jude’s supporters who have gotten creative in raising funds and awareness for the school. By combining his hobby for athletics and passion for St Jude’s, he found a new way of supporting the school. Like Africa, there are many ways to join the fight against poverty. Our resource page may be a good place to start for aspiring supporters looking to raise funds for St Jude’s.

One For The Books: A group photo of Dr Goodall (centre) and Roots and Shoots student members from St Jude’s and other schools around Arusha. 

Saturday 19th August was a big day for The School of St Jude. The usually cool atmosphere of Sisia Campus was buzzing with activity and anticipation. There were students and staff from schools around Arusha, interested individuals, and stakeholders – all connected by their common love and appreciation for nature and the environment.

Dr Jane Goodall ascended to the stage at the St Jude’s Primary Dining Hall and proceeded to address the crowd in a mixture of grunts, barks, and pant-hoots. 

“That’s how chimpanzees greet each other,” she explained, to the amazement of the audience.

Dr Goodall is a world-renowned ethologist and environmentalist. She has devoted her life to understanding, protecting, and advocating for the delicate balance of nature. Her unique connection to Tanzania started when studying the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park.

Special Visitor: Dr Jane Goodall speaking at St Jude’s.

“I have always loved animals from a very young age,” says Dr Goodall of her upbringing. “When my mother took notice of my interests, she introduced me to the fascinating world of books and that is where I learned about Africa,” she continues.

Dr Goodall’s first experience of Africa came in her mid-twenties when she travelled to Kenya to visit a friend whose family lived on a farm just outside Nairobi. While in Kenya, she learned about Dr Leakey, a famed primatologist and archaeologist, who introduced her to the world of chimpanzees.

“My life took a different turn from there onwards,” recalls Dr Goodall. “I spent the next 60 years studying wild chimpanzees in the forest. It was the most fulfilling activity of my life. I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is what I was born to do,’” she adds passionately.

Over the years of working in the wild, Dr Goodall became increasingly concerned about the alarming threat posed by escalating environmental and climate changes. The trend highlighted the urgent need to act and protect the environment for the survival of both people and animals. She has since become an advocate for the conservation and protection of the environment.

“I would speak to young people about climate change and they would seem to have given up hope,” recalls Dr Goodall. “They believed a lot of damage had already been done by previous generations and there was nothing they could do. But I encouraged them to take small actions of change, starting locally in their communities,” narrates Dr Goodall.

Leaving a Mark: Dr Goodall’s and St Jude’s Special Programs Manager, Vivian, planting a tree at St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School farm.

From these conversations sprouted Roots and Shoots, a youth-led program that encourages young people to be agents of change by participating in projects that protect the environment, wildlife, or their communities. Over the years, Roots and Shoots has grown to include 70 countries around the world where its participants identify and address problems in their communities while becoming compassionate citizens of the planet.

“Sometimes it might seem as if our actions are futile on the global scale,” Dr Goodall encourages the youth. “But when you know that there are young people like you in 69 other countries that are doing the same thing as you. Then you can dare to dream globally,” she adds hopefully.

Dr Goodall’s visit was inspired by St Jude’s active Roots and Shoots Club, one of the 50 student clubs at the school. In addition to sharing her life’s experiences and adventures working with wild chimpanzees and speaking on various environmental-related topics, Dr Goodall engaged in a thrilling Q&A session with students, planted several trees, and visited the Art Gallery at St Jude’s.

“It is such a wonderful idea to use education to lift people out of poverty,” says Dr Goodall of her experience at St Jude’s. “What I especially love about the school is that graduates have a gap year where they give back to the community. This is very impactful and cultivates a culture of giving back, thus raising a generation of responsible, compassionate leaders,” she adds.

Sharing Inspiration: Jane Goodall meets the artists during a tour at St Jude’s Art Gallery. 

St Jude’s Roots and Shoots Club is one of the fastest-growing student clubs at the school. Having started with only one student in 2020, the club has now grown to a dynamic group of more than 30 students actively taking part in making the world a better place one step at a time.

“Students can connect with Roots and Shoots because it touches on all three aspects: the human, the animal, and the environmental aspect,” explains Mr Mayala, St Jude’s Roots and Shoots Club Mentor. “Members are highly motivated in our activities, whether it is planting trees and maintaining gardens around the school, compassionate visits to elderly homes and orphanages, and debating on various topics on the environment and climate change to raise awareness about our mission,” he adds.

St Jude’s uses education to raise leaders of tomorrow who will use their skills to improve the well-being of their community in all aspects, including the environment. The supportive environment at the school encourages students to express themselves and pursue their true passions in various fields. Industry leaders like Dr Jane Goodall serve as a constant inspiration to many youths around the world that with determination, hard work, and discipline, they too can make a lasting difference in the world.

Partners In Technology: From left to right; Melissa, Noel, Robin, and Ebenezer catch up in November. 

The School of St Jude is privileged to have modern computing and information technology facilities. From financial management systems and human resource solutions to help students and staff improve their English, technology is constantly in use at St Jude’s.  

All of this is possible because of generous supporters, including TechnologyOne, an Australian software company.  

“TechnologyOne is a software company based in Brisbane, Australia,” explains Robin, a software engineer at TechnologyOne. “Our software helps organisations and businesses manage day-to-day activities such as accounting, procurement, and student management,” he adds.  

Although TechnologyOne is primarily a software company, it takes social responsibility seriously and is committed to making a difference for underprivileged and at-risk youths in communities. So when St Jude’s inspirational story of empowering future Tanzanian leaders with quality education reached TechnologyOne, they quickly joined hands in support. 

“We have a dedicated charity program at TechnologyOne called TechnologyOne Foundation,” explains Melissa, of TechnologyOne. “The Foundation currently supports nine charity partners and St Jude’s is one of them,” she adds. 

As a Foundation Champion at TechnologyOne, Melissa organises fundraising activities for charity partners. Over the years, TechnologyOne Foundation has come up with creative ways to raise funds and support for St Jude’s

Talking Tech: Noel catches up with Robin from TechnologyOne at St Jude’s. 

“One of our popular fundraising campaigns is the triathlon,” explains Melissa. “In a triathlon, participants complete a series of three sports which involves a 1500m swim, 40km bicycle ride, and a 10km run,” she adds.  

This year’s donation from TechnologyOne helped purchase 60 laptops for new staff, allowing them to work efficiently. Furthermore, TechnologyOne employees conducted their own fundraising for a new jungle gym at St Jude’s, a donation which the software company then matched!  

Over the years, TechnologyOne has donated software that has become indispensable at St Jude’s, assisting with budgeting, forecasting, database management and supply chain management.  

 “Software programs from TechnologyOne have helped simplify a lot of processes,” says Noel, Assistant Team Lead of Corporate Applications at St Jude’s. “Tasks that used to take hours can now be done in a few minutes,” he explains. 

Corporate Applications is a special division of Information and Technology (IT) at St Jude’s which is dedicated to researching, incorporating, and customising technology to school requirements.  

“Technology is always evolving, and so should we,” says Noel. “Mastering technology is crucial for students if they are going to develop innovative solutions in the future,” he elaborates. 

There is a strong emphasis on technology at St Jude’s. All students attend weekly computer classes, which include a special IT curriculum, typing lessons, and a program for learning English called ESL (English as a Second Language). Additionally, students have the option to learn programming as an extracurricular club to further nurture their interest in technology. 

Say Cheese: Robin and Melissa spend time with the girls’ school Dance Club. 

Melissa and Robin visited St Jude’s this year as part of TechnologyOne’s charity program. It was the first time in Tanzania for both of them and the experience was eye-opening.  

“Everything from the art, music, dances, and academics is phenomenal,” says Robin. “It is truly fulfilling to be supportive of what happening here,” he adds.  

TechnologyOne has been supporting St Jude’s since 2014. Their support helps St Jude’s equip students with 21st century skills in science and technology to lift their communities out of poverty. In an ever-changing world, TechnologyOne’s partnership with St Jude’s facilitates a necessary and timely technological evolution for Tanzania’s future leaders. 

James first heard about The School of St Jude in 2013 when he joined Louisville Collegiate School in Louisville, Kentucky. 

“The first group of teachers from Louisville had just returned from St Jude’s in Tanzania and were telling wonderful stories about the place,” recalls James. “I was thrilled and wanted to come to see for myself,” he adds.  

So when Cindy, a board member of Louisville Collegiate School, President the American Friends of The School of St Jude (AFSJ) board and a pioneer of the newly established partnership between the two schools, asked him if he would be interested in joining, James jumped at the opportunity.

“In the summer of the following year I was on my way to St Jude’s for the first time!” says James excitedly. “I immediately fell in love with the students, teachers, staff, and everything about the school,” he adds passionately. This September, James was back again, along with Cindy and three other education professionals.

Kufundisha Pamoja (kufundisha pamoja means teaching together in Kiswahili) is a partnership program between schools in the United States and St Jude’s in Tanzania. Through the program, teachers from both sides exchange their skills, knowledge, and experience in pedagogy through running professional development programs, team building training, co-teaching, and more.

 “Both teachers and students have greatly benefitted from this program,” says Mr Elineema, St Jude’s Primary School Deputy Academic Master, who has been working with James during his recent visit.

“It is different from other programs because the facilitators are actively engaged in the day-to-day activities at school. So their input is timely and relevant,” he adds. 

Mr Elineema was part of a group from St Jude’s that travelled to Louisville Collegiate School in Kentucky as part of the program in 2016. He looks back at his time in the United States as one of the most eye-opening experiences in his 15-year career in education. His most interesting discovery was how similar students in the United States are to their Tanzanian counterparts.

“For example, the discipline challenges we face with students in Tanzania were identical to those in the United States,” he explains. “Yet their approach to disciplining students is different from most schools in Tanzania. So an exchange program like this can go a long way to help us re-evaluate our approach to pedagogy,” he elaborates.

Kufundisha Pamoja 2022 Team: Jim, Cindy, Clay, Mr Elineema, Jeff and James on the final day of the Kufundisha Pamoja visit to St Jude’s.

Along with James is Jim, the Associate Head of School at Louisville Collegiate School. Like James, Jim uses his 24 years’ experience in education to enhance the exchange of knowledge and skills within the program. 

“What I love about the program is that it is a true partnership,” says Jim. “We learn and we’re also supportive of the work that’s happening here at St Jude’s,” he explains. 

Jim joined the program in 2014 and has been to St Jude’s three times since then. In addition to helping out with the program, he is inspired by St Jude’s mission of fighting poverty with education and has since joined the fight himself. 

“I knew I wanted to sponsor a scholarship for a student right away,” Jim recalls of his first visit to St Jude’s.

“During my first visit in 2015, there was a small group of students that would play games with me after class hours. When I enquired about the sponsorship process, I was told one of the students from that group was unsponsored and asked me if I’d like to sponsor him,” Jim shares. 

 “And that’s how I met Isack!” Jim says excitedly. 

Over the years, Jim has grown to learn about Isack and his family through regular greetings, letters, and updates. The sponsorship experience has been a fulfilling one for Jim, who now looks forward to hearing all the wonderful things happening in Isack’s life. 

Since its inception in 2013, Kufundisha Pamoja has brought together 43 different participants between the United States and Tanzania. The program has expanded to include four schools in the US with participants meeting at least once every year. Through the program, the St Jude’s community has grown and welcomed many wonderful new members. 

When a long-term St Jude’s sponsor supports a student’s scholarship right from the beginning of primary school, through secondary school and then university studies, there comes a day when the scholarship ends.

The end of a scholarship is a new beginning in more ways than one. For the graduating scholar, it’s the beginning of working life. For the sponsor, it can be the beginning of a brand-new scholarship and the opportunity to change another life.

This was the case for two committed St Jude’s sponsors, Taree Rotary Club and the O’Hara and Doyle families.

The members of Taree Rotary Club began sponsoring a scholarship for St Jude’s alum, Blandina, back in 2006, and saw her through primary, secondary and tertiary studies, right up until her graduation from university with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing in 2019. Then, without hesitation, they began the sponsorship journey again, this time with a scholarship for Given, who was then in his first year of primary school, Standard 1.

Philip Streatfield, the Director of International Service of Taree Rotary Club, explains, “Our member, Ian Dyball, first met Gemma in 1999. Ian supported and encouraged Gemma long before the first brick was laid at The School of St Jude. Gemma's concept of ‘Fighting Poverty Through Education’ struck a chord with Ian who, as Club President (2004-2005), convinced our members that we should sponsor a student at St Jude's.”

For the O’Hara and Doyle families, sponsorship is a family affair. Today, Colleen O’Hara, her son Lachie, her sister Rhonda, Rhonda’s husband Jade and their children Mitchel and Ivy share the sponsorship of scholarships for students, Yasiri (currently in Standard 6, the second last year of primary) and Joyce, who has just commenced her final year of secondary school. They began their sponsorship back in 2009 when Colleen and Rhonda visited the school.

Where it all began: Colleen and Rhonda with Enock, on their first visit to St Jude’s in 2009.

Colleen recalls, “We were captivated by the kids and the wonderful work the school was doing for the underprivileged children of Arusha and surrounds.”

They immediately began sponsoring scholarships for Enock and Madina, who were in Form 1 (the first year of secondary) and Standard 4 (the fourth year of primary) respectively. In 2015, Enock graduated with St Jude’s inaugural Form 6 class and won an external scholarship to study in the US, and the families generously decided to transfer their sponsorship to Tumaini, who went on to graduate from university with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology in 2020 with their support.

Their favourite part of sponsorship is, “Seeing the kids grow into adults and get their letters of appreciation. It makes you grateful for the life we lead here in Australia and to be able to help enrich these young people's lives is such a gift for us.”

We made it: The Doyle and O’Hara children celebrate Enock’s graduation from secondary school with him in 2015.

On their decision to continue sponsoring following the end of Enock and Madina’s scholarships, Colleen says, “We wanted to continue to support the school and we have loved the experience of seeing the students grow into amazing adults, so we couldn't not continue!”

The members of Taree Rotary Club feel the same way, reports Philip, who says of Blandina, “It was exciting for our club to watch this outstanding young lady progress through school, and to receive regular school reports, letters, and photos. Our members could readily see the impact that education was having not only for Blandina but also her family and the wider community of Arusha.”

“Our club members had no hesitation in recommencing the journey having seen the valuable opportunities given to students of St Jude’s,” Philip shares.

In it for the long haul: The members of Taree Rotary Club have been sponsors since 2006.

Sponsors see students' progress through regular communications, including letters from students, school reports and updates from the St Jude’s Sponsor Relations team, plus plenty of photos. The O’Hara and Doyle families even made the trip to Tanzania to see the sponsored students in person!

After their initial visit in 2009, they returned in 2015 to witness Enock’s graduation from Form 6 and came again in 2019 to see Madina’s.

“We love coming to the school and we hope to be back next year to see Joyce graduate. Everyone is so welcoming and the week leading up to the graduation is such a fun week with so many activities to immerse in the Tanzanian culture,” says Colleen.

These two committed sponsors demonstrate that the end of a scholarship can be a brand-new beginning. By recommencing their sponsorship journeys as sponsored students graduate, Taree Rotary Club and the O’Hara and Doyle families have extended their positive impact to a brand new generation of St Jude’s students.

Fundraise, donate, sponsor or share our story – those are four main ways you can support St Jude’s. Yet, time and time again, our supporters find the most creative ways to help St Jude’s.

There are 3, 407 St Jude’s supporters which means there are 3,407 ways to support the school. These creative supporters challenge themselves to perform athletic feats, put their craft skills to the test, make speeches, bake cakes and host trivia evenings in order to help St Jude’s fight poverty through education.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to two of our super supporters.These are people who get particularly creative to spread the word and raise funds for St Jude’s.

Chris and friends: A winning hand for St Jude’s

Chris and his friends visited Tanzania and St Jude’s in January 2020, just before COVID - 19 turned the world upside - down. “We met the teachers, students and some of the families and it highlighted how important the school was in changing the lives of many, as well as for the future of Tanzania,” he says.

Chris, Jayson and Dan came up with a unique idea. “One of the guys is a part owner of a local brewery and we all liked playing poker so we thought it would be great to combine the two – a poker tournament in a brewery,” Chris remembers. So far, Chris and his friends have held two poker fundraisers. A portion of each player’s entry fee is a donation to St Jude’s and on the day of the tournament there’s an auction to raise further funds for St Jude’s.

“We have approximately 40 players who progress through a series of rounds to a final table,” Chris explains. “We sent the message around to all of our friends and from there word of mouth has spread.”

A Poker Tournament and Fundraiser
A Poker Tournament and Fundraiser: Players at one of the fundraisers.

The tournaments have been a huge success, both in terms of fundraising and spreading the word about St Jude’s. “Before we start the tournament we always explain to everyone our experience at St Jude’s and why we are doing this… Everyone has been really supportive and many have dug deep in their pockets to donate more. It’s great to see,” Chris says.

To date, the friends have donated over AU $5000 to the school following their poker tournaments.

We’re so grateful for the way Chris and his friends have used their creativity to help St Jude’s and excited to hear that they’re planning another fundraising tournament for February 2022.

Maddie: The long and short of it

Maddie, a Communications and Editorial Specialist at St Jude’s for the last four and half years, has always had long, beautiful, curly hair.

Or she used to, anyway. In May 2020, she shaved her head to raise funds for St Jude’s and today she has short, beautiful, curly hair.

“When I told people, ‘I’ll shave my head if I can raise this amount,’ I got so many laughs because my hair was almost like my trademark. I had long, waist-length, massive, curly hair. I’d never had short hair,” Maddie recalls.

Despite the trademark status of Maddie’s hair, she considered it a small price to pay in order to help St Jude’s. “I knew I wanted to do a big fundraiser of some sort. I was supposed to go home last year for a visit in May, but then with COVID-19 I couldn’t and I knew I would be staying here (in Tanzania). So I thought, well, people could use a bit of a giggle!” Maddie laughs.

Before and after: Maddie shaved off her trademark locks in order to raise fund for St Jude’s.

Maddie created a GoFundMe page and shared it from her Facebook and Instagram accounts to encourage donations. Overnight, she hit her fundraising goal and her friends encouraged her to increase her goal. Soon, Maddie had raised $4,600 and decided it was time for the big shave.

“I borrowed some clippers but I forgot to put on the attachment to do a number six length. So I botched it completely and my hair was down to the scalp, as bald as you could go. It was so, so cold! But, there was also the feeling of elation, because I’d done something good for the school which was beyond just giving time and it’d brought a smile to people’s faces,” Maddie says.

Not everyone needs to shave their head in order to fundraise for St Jude’s, but Maddie has a few words for people considering any sort of fundraiser, “Put yourself out of your comfort zone. Do something different and wacky if you can and try to link in stories of the people here at St Jude’s. More than anything, the stories of our Tanzanian staff, students and graduates will convince people to donate and support. Put yourself out there, be brave and have a go,” she says.

A creative challenge

Coming up in November, we have a chance for you to flex your creative muscles while fighting poverty through education like Chris and Maddie. The St Jude’s Challenge is on again!

When you join the St Jude’s Challenge you can choose a reading challenge, a steps challenge or get really creative and design your own challenge. Register your challenge, create a fundraising page and then share your challenge with friends and family and encourage them to donate. Individuals, families, clubs and schools are all welcome.