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Raising the roof: Students packed out the assembly hall during the special ceremony

As the school bell rang, hundreds of female students rushed to the Smith Secondary assembly hall, packing out the front rows, eager to get the best view of the assembly dedicated to celebrating them!

Recognising International Women’s Day on March 8th was a must for The School of St Jude, as the school is operating in a country still working towards gender equality and female empowerment.

The school’s female students are recognised as the trailblazers of tomorrow. Their education is helping them break the cycle of poverty and bring the barriers of inequality tumbling down.

Time for change: Students sat together in solidarity to fight gender inequality.

On average, Tanzanian girls from a poor rural background will only receive 3.7 years of schooling and less than 25% will have received some secondary education.

For girls in Tanzania, their chance to attend school is often weighed against their value as caregivers, farmhands, cattle tenders, firewood collectors, house cleaners, water fetchers and marketplace vendors. Meaning the priority of continuing education often comes second best.

This makes International Women’s Day, and the girls’ free St Jude’s education, even more important.

As the first empowering song played out to the assembly hall, students and staff raised the roof, their solidarity was a force to be reckoned with.

Beyond St Jude’s Coordinator, Vivian Deus, opened the ceremony with a stirring speech about the challenges she’s faced as a female Tanzanian legal facilitator and an aspiring international trade and investment lawyer.

“At university I was one of the people who were lucky to be mentored by the then Law Faculty Head, (now Attorney General of Tanzania) Prof. Adelardus Kilangi.  He instilled a passion in me to want to achieve more for myself, which is what I wish to see in all of you today and for days to come.”

Speaking directly to the females, she shared her admiration for St Jude’s as a workplace and school of equal opportunity without prejudice or discrimination.

“The School of St Jude has given you the greatest gift, 57% of your kind are represented across the two campuses. God bless Gemma and everyone backing her. You are all a part of an important history,” Vivian declared, her words met with a roar of appreciation.

Following Vivian’s emotive declaration, Form 6 student, Zulfa, took to the podium.

“Based on this year’s theme 'Balance for Better', I think education is one of the most important weapons to create balance in a better world. It is possible to hold a broom in one hand and a pen in the other, it is possible to be an undergraduate without a bump in your stomach, it is possible to have a masters without a baby on your back, it is possible to have a degree and make the most out of it,” Zulfa urged.

Voicing up: Form 6 students proudly facilitated the ceremony. 

An all-female line-up of students and staff then entertained the crowd with poetry and comedy, before inviting more than a hundred women to the stage.

The audience jumped to their feet and joined the choir, raising their voices in collective celebration.

Leading Ladies: Tonics group entertained students with songs written by African women.

Mr Mcharo, the Headmaster of Smith Secondary Campus, gave his vote of thanks to the women involved in organising the assembly and shared some thoughts about the role men need to play in ensuring women are respected, heard and empowered.

One day is not enough to tackle the challenges facing women, especially in Tanzania, but all those present pledged that the women and men of St Jude’s will strive for balance, equally and together. 

Providing girls with an education helps break the cycle of poverty and inequality in Tanzania, sponsor one our inspiring women today!


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