Fighting poverty through education, ten years and counting

When you think of The School of St Jude, what comes to mind? Is it the aesthetic attributes of the school: the distinctive multi-colored buses, the vibrant blues and greens of the lunch tables or the shades of red and orange flowers that line the campuses? Or maybe it’s the location: resting underneath the snows of Kilimanjaro – thanks Hemingway – a vibrant hub the locals throughout Arusha, Tanzania call “Sainty Judy.” Or how about the students? Yes, it’s got to be the students. They’re the reason we’ve come here in the first place, right? Without the students there would be no school at all, none of your support and selfless acts of goodwill that we depend on. Without a doubt it’s the smiles of these courageous children born into poverty, raised without much, the weight of their family’s expectations cemented on their tiny shoulders in hopes for a better life.

All of the above are valid responses. The School of St Jude obviously means multiple things to multiple people, no one person with the exact same thought. And that’s the beauty, isn’t it? It’s a bubbling institution where amazing became the new normal, a million different instances screaming “St Jude’s!”

Do you want to know what we think of?

Ten years.

We have come ten years, with a lot of dedication, hardships, accomplishments and the right amount of luck. We have weathered the pitfalls of other NGOs worldwide, ethically navigated the local and international red tape and built enriching relationships with the sponsors and donors who’ve made this operation possible. We have constructed classrooms, buildings, employed locals, fed our students with hot, nutritious meals and provided a secure, warm place for them to sleep at night. We are about to graduate our first class of students from secondary school in 2015, readying them and ourselves for the next bullet-point in The School of St Jude timeline. And we’re still giddy with excitement as we were from day one.

Sustenance, sustainability, breaking the cycle – it’s what we’re about, and will continue to be about for the next ten, twenty years and beyond. We are so blessed you have been a part of our lives, or are about to join our community, as we invite you to the official blog of The School of St Jude. Unlike the monthly newsletter or Facebook page – which you should be subscribed to anyway! – this blog will dovetail the intricacies, fascinations and analysis of St Jude’s as it relates to a wider, global context. How is our mission here being effected by global events, and conversely, how are we impacting them? We won’t pretend to know everything about anything, so please make the comments section your home. We always love to hear from our supporters.

It’s extraordinary to take a step back and look at what’s been accomplished here. And just like the students, we are learning everyday, steering our way through life in Tanzania, this beautiful country that we’ve called home for the last ten years.

So karibuni sana – welcome – to the official blog of The School of St Jude.

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Keep in mind that parcels sent by airmail can take up to four months to get here (sea mail is even longer – often 12+ months!), so don’t worry if it takes a while for us to let you know the parcel has arrived.