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Creating Change: Edson with his family at their home in Maasai tribe heartland Nadosoito.

The path to The School of St Jude has been tougher than most for new Form 1 student, Edson.

Born with ‘knock-knees’, his legs have grown angled inwards and the teenager is in pain with each step he takes.

The spirited student refuses to let his limitations define him. With sheer determination, Edson trekked two hours from his home in the Maasai tribe heartland, Nadosoito, to his under-resourced government primary school for seven years.

Whilst he was often late, unable to walk at the pace of his classmates, Edson never missed a day. As the oldest son he also herded cows after school to support his family.

Edson recalls being labeled a “hopeless cause” by many but he was quietly working towards a better life.
 
 
Life-changing Year: Edson stands strong ahead of his operation to help correct his painful knee condition.

“A letter was bought to my primary school promoting the selection day at The School of Jude and this became my motivation. The life for my family is very hard here because there is hardly any water. I want to change this,” Edson explains.

As Edson’s family continued to struggle without water, their supply diminishing at the distant fill up taps as the borehole dried up, Edson improved his grades to a standard that saw him pass the St Jude’s Form 1 entrance exam with flying colours.

Before he knew it, St Jude’s bright yellow bus arrived at their traditional mud-hut home, one hour south of central Arusha and he was set for the ride of his life.

Recalling that day, Edson’s mother, Helena, becomes emotional, hugging her son tight as he rejoined his family during the midterm break.

“Edson was an obedient child; he did not used to talk much and behaved well. He loved to go to school despite having problems with his legs. I feel so encouraged and proud now he is at St Jude’s. He has told me how the school is providing him with a good place to sleep, eat and study. It means a lot to us because he will help to eradicate the poverty around us here.”
 
 
Poverty to Professional: Edson is already thriving in his favourite subject, English.

Reaching secondary school is an achievement in itself for Edson and his fellow Form 1 classmates who joined St Jude’s from government schools in January. It is estimated that only 30% of secondary school aged Tanzanians are in education. This statistic is reduced even further in remote Maasai areas, but Edson is part of changing that trend and inspiring others in his community to change it too. 
 
Edson’s teachers say he’s already thriving in his favourite subject, English, and has even started to teach his brothers and sisters the language. In this way the whole family can benefit from the education Edson is receiving, providing opportunities for them beyond their small village.
 
 
Family Impact: Edson’s family benefit from his quality education too, with the teenager teaching his siblings English.
 
“I love The School of St Jude because they have a lot of teachers and a big library. I am now sharing what I am learning with my family and tribe,’ Edson proudly shares.

It’s truly been a life-changing year for Edson. Not only has he secured his place at St Jude’s, the school’s welfare team has also reached out to doctors at a nearby medical charity, who have agreed to perform an operation to help correct his painful condition.

“I am not scared of the operation as I want my legs to be straight,” Edson announced with that same determination crossing his face once more. While in his mother’s eyes there is a sense of relief. 
 
“We went to the local hospital and were given tablets as treatment but they never worked and I didn’t have the money to take him to the special doctor that they told us to see. I am so thankful the school is now helping us find treatment,” Helena says as tears start to well in her eyes again.

The post-operation recovery is expected to be six weeks of bedrest but Edson knows this is just a small hurdle in achieving his ultimate goal.

“I see myself as an electrical engineer so I can bring electricity to our village, either that or a teacher, like my mother wanted to be,” Edson quietly shares.

A dream that with his tenacious attitude, big heart and bright mind, he can certainly achieve.

The path to his chosen profession is a lot brighter now for Edson, as is the outlook for his whole family, thanks to The School of St Jude, fittingly named after the Saint of hopeless causes.

A label no one will ever call Edson again.

Edson’s academic scholarship, like a number of our new students, is not yet sponsored. His place at St Jude’s is covered by general donations. Sponsor or donate today to see the change in the lives of students like Edson when they benefit from a free, high-quality education.

 


Comments

all at Woollahra Double Bay Uniting Church Woollahra Double Bay Uniting Church commented on 25-May-2019 10:23 AM
This young student Edson is remarkable, overcoming all the obstacles to getting to St. Jude, and now undergoing an operation to straighten his legs. What courage. What a marvelous school St. Jude is, education and rehabilitation.
Mary Dwyer commented on 28-May-2019 06:26 PM
I love the School of St Judes. Thankyou for your work Amd your leadership. You are transforming the future of Tanzania, one student at a time. Regards Mary, sponsor to Husna.
Olivia Walker commented on 29-May-2019 08:12 AM
Having visited a Maasai village and seen the conditions of little water and no electricity I applaud Edson and St Jude for the promise of a better future for Edson and his community of people.
Anonymous commented on 30-May-2019 10:54 AM
I have just visited the school for the graduation of my sponsored girl Naisujaki. It has given me a call new appreciation for all that is being done for these young people. What amazing campuses with all the boarding facilities classrooms and beautiful grounds and kitchens that cater for so many people each meal time. Totally amazing. Proud to be a sponsor!
Claire
Bill and Noela Phillips commented on 30-May-2019 11:59 AM
Yet again, St Jude's working miracles by providing this inspirational little boy not only with a first class education, but the hope of walking pain-free for the first time in his life. What a beautiful story!
all at Woollahra Double Bay Uniting Church Woollahra Double Bay Uniting Church commented on 01-Jun-2019 03:11 PM
Edson is a champ, over coming all the obstacles in his path. But, without St Jude's network and it's abilities to reach into the depths of the impoverished lives of those aspiring children, and their families, I really don't know how these miracles would be achieved.

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