Going the extra mile for Sebastian

Sebastian with a friend at St Jude's
Sebastian with a friend at St Jude's.

Two Lower Primary teachers at St Jude’s are going beyond the normal duties of teaching to help a little prep child, who is overcoming major hurdles, as he has albinism and suffers severe visual problems. Martha Dello and Anna Nnko are up for the challenge though and are doing all they can to help Sebastian succeed in his studies.

Sebastian started at St Jude’s in January and has gone through so much before he has even reached school age. It can be extremely dangerous growing up as an albino in Tanzania, as misperceptions about the condition are sometimes entrenched in rural communities. Many locals believe that the body parts or hair of an albino hold magical powers and sadly, it has led to an increasing number of killings across the country. Many families are persecuted if they have an albino child.

Sebastian is dealing with his visual problem which, for a little boy, is a lot to take on. He has also really benefited from the inclusive ethos of the school and his social skills are developing. “We showed him love and we accepted everything that he was doing,” said Anna. “We showed him the right way to do things and we also talked to other students that they should accept him as he is and help him wherever he fails, any kind of problem.”

Lower Primary teacher Anna Nnko helping Sebastian in class
Lower Primary teacher Anna Nnko helping Sebastian in class

We are so grateful that we have been able to help Sebastian thus far, due to our Health & Welfare program, which operates on the foundation of assisting students who require extra needs. Though all of our students come from poor backgrounds, we have several students living in extremely difficult situations; students with serious illness, or dealing with other external issues such as abuse or mistreatment who require additional treatment and services. Our dedicated Welfare Deputies and their teams work hard to identify these students in each of our three campuses, and provide the required assistance within the means that we have.

Each case is dealt with sensitively and the school is willing to offer extra help when needed. St Jude’s considers Sebastian’s situation a special case and he will therefore receive financial assistance with any medical issues that will impact on his learning. We will also provide him and his mother transport to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College Hospital, an hour away from the school, for regular medical treatment. The school is grateful for any funding it receives for its Health & Welfare program because it goes towards providing vital support for our students, like Sebastian.

We have recently fitted Sebastian with special glasses, in order to help him concentrate on his studies. St Jude’s has also received some additional visual aids for Sebastian, as a generous donation.

St Jude’s is determined to equip all of our students with the skills and confidence so they need for the best chance at developing a good life in the future. 

As part of our current appeal, for $80 you can help two students for an entire year in our Health and Welfare program.

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