Just a short 10-minute drive from our Smith Secondary Campus in Usa River is a local orphanage, a stark reminder of the realities of living in a country where up to 10% of the child population are orphaned.
St Jude’s secondary students participate in monthly volunteering, giving back to the community on their weekends, as a way to spread the generosity they have received even further.
30 St Jude’s students spent their Saturday morning washing clothes, cooking and putting smiles on the faces of those at the small orphanage. Around 150 St Jude’s students have lost one or both of their parents and know the challenges these children face.
Form 5 student Zuhura looks forward to the visits because she knows she’s been given a quality education and wants to drive change.
“We are going back into the community to assist other people because we have been given the chance at The School of St Jude that only a few get. Outside the school gates can feel a world away sometimes. I know I am only in the position I am in because my sponsor is giving back too,” Zuhura said.
Zuhura was a natural with the younger orphans, initiating games to brighten their morning. The 19-year-old says that’s because she knows what it’s like to have very little.
“I certainly lived under hard conditions at home, sometimes me and my siblings missed meals, sometimes we went to school with no uniforms or books. It can hurt when you see other children getting opportunities, so now as one of the lucky ones, I can spend a bit of time to make others smile,” she reflected.
Zuhura also shared some wise words with the young, bright minds at the orphanage, encouraging them to study hard at school and use education as their foundation.
The volunteer program has helped shape Zuhura’s ideas for her future. She is determined to be part of the 4% of Tanzanians enrolled in higher education and focus her studies where she can continue to have an impact on those less fortunate.
“I love the community and I have not forgotten where I have come from. I want to study social work or child psychology at university,” Zuhura beamed.
The visits are all part of St Jude’s, ’School Service and Self Reliance Program’, instilling in each student the knowledge and belief that they too can help break the cycle of poverty.
“The school can only operate thanks to the generosity of people giving, so we want our students to do the same. This is all leading to their Community Service Year as part of the Beyond St Jude’s program, but we start enriching our students with the concept of giving early on. We appreciate what is being given by sponsors and donors and that’s what we want our students to develop, not just that giving is a good thing but that you are capable of giving in so many ways,” Head of Service at Smith Secondary Campus, Mr Ernest outlined.
For Form 4 student Deogratius the visits are about giving hope to those who have the odds stacked against them, a position he admits he was once in.
“Before studying at St Jude’s I had to walk long distances to school like these kids have to. My favourite part of our visits is seeing the kids smile. You can feel the whole vibe of the orphanage change when we start getting to work here and when we have time with the kids after. Thanks to these visits I even want to start my own orphanage after I finish school and am set up professionally because I see a lot of social-economic problems developing in Tanzania,” Deogratius shared while soaking washing for the orphanage.
St Jude’s students know their education is a valuable gift and that their good fortune can be shared with others, much like the thousands of people worldwide who keep St Jude’s running each day.
Be a part of our students’ inspirational journeys and help them give back to their community. Become a sponsor today.