Over the past 17 years, word that St Jude’s is creating the future leaders of Tanzania through a free, quality education has spread far and wide.
It even reached the tiny office of the Headmaster of Masabeda Secondary School, an under-resourced government school in a remote area of the Manyara region.
Mr Sherwia has been the only secondary school Headmaster in a village, where most families live on less that AU$2.5 a day, for more than a decade and was so impressed with St Jude’s that he became determined to do everything he could to help his students sit the St Jude’s entrance examinations.
Aware that most of his cleverest students’ families were unable to help their children make the long journey to the St Jude’s Selection Day, the big-hearted Headmaster decided to step-in with a touching selfless act. Taking it upon himself, he organised for a bus to take his students all the way from Manyara to Arusha, a journey that takes over five hours.
“I knew these students could really succeed if they were given more opportunities. Unfortunately, we cannot provide what St Jude’s do and these students have the talents to make the most of the quality education St Jude’s offers. The school should be very proud of what they do and the resources. St Jude’s actually have enough teachers for each subject and a library filled with books, which means everything to the families in my community who cannot afford the bare basics,” Mr Sherwia explained while visiting St Jude’s Secondary Campus.
His assistance has certainly paid off. At the start of the school term, Mr Sherwia travelled from the village with three of his former students so he was there to witness their first day at St Jude’s after they were selected to join the new Form 5 cohort last month.
Among the trio is aspiring doctor Editha, who beamed with pride wearing her crisp, brand new uniform.
“I feel very smart and I am already feeling at home in the boarding house. I can see why Mr Sherwia encouraged us to strive to get here. He held tests for students that helped us to do well. I would really love to thank him for the support he has given us all along because he has impacted our lives and now we are sure that we are in a good position and heading to achieving our dreams,” Editha smiled.
Spending her first night in the St Jude’s boarding house was also a highlight for fellow new Form 5 student, Pendaeli, who previously slept on a cow skin on the floor of her mud-hut home.
“My family have always wished so much for me, now that is finally coming true. I am already making friends in the boarding house and I hope to learn new things about myself. Not having to walk an hour to school and having a comfortable place to sleep will give me more time and energy to study,” Pendaeli said quietly.
The new students will also have the support of Form 6 student, Febronia who was selected last year as the first student from Masabeda Secondary School.
“I love being able to use a computer and having a quiet place to study. I have enjoyed participating in extracurricular activities and I am so happy more students from my area can now have that too. It all started with Mr Sherwia,” Febronia reflected.
The 20-year-old has improved her marks by 30% since joining St Jude’s a year ago.
“I have noticed many improvements in Febronia since she joined St Jude’s, she has more confidence and can express herself well,” Mr Sherwia added, having caught up with Febronia on his recent visit.
Mr Sherwia hopes that Febronia, Editha, Pendali and Jeniva are just the start of many more students to successfully secure a St Jude’s academic scholarship. He is determined to continue to provide assistance in whatever way he can so that more students from his rural community have the opportunity to become future leaders.
“I am so proud of the students that have been selected and I can rest easy that they will be looked after by the St Jude’s community. I hope more students will be selected in years to come as I think St Jude’s represents a good turning point for Tanzania’s education sector,” Mr Sherwin smiled.
You can help these new Form 5 students, including those from Masabeda Secondary School, whose academic scholarships are currently unsponsored. Sign up to sponsor today!