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Meet the Spinach Lady of St Jude’s, her name is Nice and so is she!

As our students grow big and strong, so do local farms.
As our students grow big and strong, so do local farms

Nobody has to tell the students at St Jude’s to eat their spinach. 

Four times a week, the bowls are licked clean and the smiling faces of more than 1800 students are speckled with flecks of green. It’s spinach day!

Grins for greens: Grade 1 students love their spinach!
Grins for greens: Grade 1 students love their spinach!

The benefits of these nutritious meals are being felt far beyond our school gates.

Vegetable farmer Nice Fadhili is just one of the local producers whose life has changed because of the more than $10,000 AUD spent each week on the more than 31,000 meals our students eat.

Super food: A secondary student shares a smile while shredding spinach.
Super food: A secondary student shares a smile while shredding spinach.

Known around St Jude’s as “The Spinach Lady”, Nice started supplying the school with leafy greens in 2012.

“I was selling some small vegetables at the central market and people from St Jude’s came looking to buy food for the children,” Nice says. “Even though I was small they saw my spinach was the best and started to buy from me. I was so happy.”

Nice business, nice boss: With business going well Mrs Fadhili has been able to provide jobs for young women in her neighbourhood.
Nice business, nice boss: With business going well Mrs Fadhili has been able to provide jobs for young women in her neighbourhood.

Tanzania has one of the highest rates of chronic malnutrition in the world; 42% of children under five are malnourished, which leaves them open to disease and learning difficulties later in life. Vitamin A and Iodine are the direst deficiencies, with iron deficiency another major concern.

Nutrient-rich spinach, served with beans and rice for lunch, is an affordable and delicious cure-all for these specific dietary deficits.

Nice is proud of her produce, the fact it feeds so many children and the ability it gives her to employ her elder sister, Waidae, on the shamba (farm). 

Sister act: Nice and her sister Waidae harvesting spinach for St Jude's.
Sister act: Nice and her sister Waidae harvesting spinach for St Jude’s.

Before supplying the school, Nice and her husband John were living in a one-room mud house in Moivaro, sheltering and providing for four members of their extended family as well as their three children. Nice grew her vegetables in a small rented plot on the other side of Arusha. 

In the future the Fadhilis hope to grow the shamba for their eldest son, Freddy, to inherit; they want to finish building their house which has been many years in the making and they want to see daughter Alice graduate and become a teacher. 

Nice results: Not only is spinach great for our students but it is helping the Fadhilis build their first family home.
Nice results: Not only is spinach great for our students but it is helping the Fadhilis build their first family home.

Nice said that she gives thanks for the school and prays for its students each night.

“I am happy because St Jude is able to support many children and I am able to give a better future to my children because of the school,” Nice said. 

To make sure parcels arrive and incur no expenses for the school

  • Please do NOT register or insure any mail as it costs the school at least USD $25 in taxes at our end.
  • Mark all parcels as being “second-hand goods” or “personal gifts”.
  • Ensure the description of goods written on the parcel matches the actual items inside as customs and postal staff frequently inspect contents of parcels.
  • Please label all parcels clearly with the first and last name of the recipient and your full name.
  • Please put the value of the package at no more than US$10 (the lower the better).
  • Ensure that your parcel is LESS THAN 2KG. We have been advised that parcels less than 2KG are technically tax-free regardless of content, but this is not guaranteed by all postal workers.
 

Tax-free items include books, personal goods and anything that is not new. Used goods, used clothes, etc…(please remove labels and packaging from all items before sending them)

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.