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St Jude’s spreads Christmas cheer to orphans

St Jude's staff and students visited 10 needy orphanages to give out gifts and supplies just in time for Christmas.
St Jude's staff and students visited 10 needy orphanages to give out gifts and supplies just in time for Christmas

Christmas will be a lot merrier this year for some of Tanzania’s most disadvantaged children thanks to the generosity of the St Jude’s community.

St Jude’s students relished the role of Santa Claus, delivering hampers filled with gifts and supplies to 10 needy orphanages in Arusha.

Helping hand: St Jude's primary school student Hawa gives a gift to one of the orphans at Neema House.
Helping hand: St Jude’s primary school student Hawa gives a gift to one of the orphans at Neema House.

The gifts came from generous staff members who donated money on St Jude’s Day, the school’s annual celebration of the patron saint of hopeless and lost causes.

“In Tanzania it is the custom to help your neighbours if you are able,” said St Jude’s staff member Reginald, who organised this year’s gift distribution.

Giving season: Neema House on-site directors Matt and Kelly Erdman were happy to receive a visit from The School of St Jude.
Giving season: Neema House on-site directors Matt and Kelly Erdman were happy to receive a visit from The School of St Jude.

The gift distribution program has been one of St Jude’s longest-running traditions and is eagerly awaited by staff, students and the orphanages involved.

This year gift packs went to Samaritan Village Orphanage, Haruma Children’s Centre, Neema House, Kanaan Children’s Centre, Karimu Children’s Centre, Tumaini for Africa Foundation, Karama Care, Zion Care, Faraja Orphanage Centre, and the Future Happiness Home.

Time to give: 2015 Form 6 graduate Caroline was given a life-changing opportunity at St Jude's and she's using it to help others.
Time to give: 2015 Form 6 graduate Caroline was given a life-changing opportunity at St Jude’s and she’s using it to help others.

“For us, it’s such an honour to be a part of something like this,” said Caroline, a 2015 St Jude’s graduate who is volunteering in the Beyond St Jude’s community service program.

Like all St Jude’s students, she came from one of Arusha’s poorest families and is now benefiting from her free, high-quality education.

“My family would have appreciated gifts like this very much, so I know how these children feel.”

Christmas cheer: The orphans at Neema House, one of 10 that received a gift hamper from St Jude's, were happy with the visit.
Christmas cheer: The orphans at Neema House, one of 10 that received a gift hamper from St Jude’s, were happy with the visit.

As the recipients of sponsor and donor generosity, St Jude’s staff and students are particularly understanding of the importance of giving back. The Christmas gift drive is an opportunity to pay forward the kindness and generosity within their own communities.

“It’s something we look forward to every year,” Reginald said.

“For the students, it’s very special. But not only for the students. For the staff it’s very special because we get to see how much (the orphans) appreciate what we are giving

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.