Australian pharmacy managers, Margo and Tina, have seen many changes at The School of St Jude after visiting seven times and both admit they’ve ‘fallen in love’ with St Jude’s.
“I am amazed at what this school has accomplished and the progression to now. I can see a lot of the hard work coming to fruition, especially with the number of Tanzanian staff there are now,” Margo enthusiastically explained.
The bubbly duo have become passionate about fighting poverty through education and, as sponsors of the academic scholarships of two female students, have marvelled at the changes they have seen in the students’ lives.
“When I went to visit Angela at home for the first time seven years ago I nearly pulled down the tin shed her family lived in because I sat down too fast on the bed and the curtain came down! It was a single room made of tin with a dirt floor, but the family were so grateful. Now the family are in a brick house with a concrete floor and whilst they still don’t have a door, their level of living has certainly improved which is really heartwarming,” Tina smiled.
“13-year-old Christina was a shy little girl when I started sponsoring her scholarship, but now she is very mature. At the first home visit all those years ago it really struck me how fortunate it was for Christina to be accepted to St Jude’s. They are now in a three-roomed house compared to one room when I first came,” Margo added.
With Margo’s support and the commitment of her St Jude’s teachers, Standard 7 student, Christina, has become a strong performing science student and her ambition to be a future leader just keeps developing.
“Her goal for the seven years I’ve known her has always been to be a doctor. To imagine her going to university really pulls on my heart strings,” Margo shared through teary eyes.
Both woman have already witnessed many landmark years in St Jude’s history.
“I am amazed how the school is always evolving. We were thrilled by the launch of the Beyond St Jude’s program shortly before our last visit, and now we’ve learnt it has a team of eight helping hundreds of alumni. It’s quite amazing that St Jude’s will have their first university graduates this year,” Tina reflected.
Both couldn’t be more excited to see St Jude’s enter a new era with a girls’ secondary school to be opened in January next year. The reconfiguring of existing campuses will enable St Jude’s to increase the number of graduates and stack the odds in favour of girls. In a country where girls from a poor rural area will only receive 3.7 years of schooling, and less than 25% will have received some secondary education, the new school creates the opportunity to redress this imbalance.
“For more women to have an education is just phenomenal. I think it’s a fabulous idea. When you talk to Tanzanians they see that gender inequality is present but progress to address it is slow. It will be special to see the girls’ school up and running on our next visit,” Tina and Margo discussed as they walked by the facilities that are now being transformed for the new project.
As St Jude’s works to make a bigger impact on more Tanzanian students and their families, Margo and Tina are vowing to continue to spread the word of the life changing work they witness every time they visit.
“I think our role as sponsors is to create that ripple effect and I am finding that each time I go back to Australia it’s the younger generation that are really interested in projects like this,” Tina explained.
“You can expect us to visit as long as we have a heartbeat,” Margo laughed looking around the school that her, and thousands of other generous supporters from around the world, have helped the local community turn into reality.
Join Tina, Margo and the 1,100+ visitors that stop by St Jude’s each year and witness the exciting new era for yourself. Contact our visitors team to arrange a visit.