The School of St Jude in northern Tanzania fights poverty through education. You won’t find it highlighted in glossy travel brochures but it’s a memorable destination and a worthwhile experience. While not the journey, it can be a fulfilling detour.
The story of St Jude’s has been told through its inspiring and indefatigable founder, Gemma Sisia OAM, a finalist for Australian of the Year and twice featured on ABC TV’s Australian Story. Gemma tells me how, as a young backpacker in East Africa, she was appalled by local government schools and “naively” wondered why these kids “born with the same brains as you or me” didn’t have a quality education.
(Most Tanzanians receive only primary schooling, which is conducted in Swahili. Only exceptional, or rich, children are taught in government secondary schools — in English.)