For as long as 15-year-old Dastan can remember he’s dreamed of soaring high.
His ambition to become a pilot started from studying picture books under a kerosene lamp – his family didn’t have electricity at their home.
Dastan and his family live in one room in a compound in Lemara, a poor and densely populated area close to Arusha city, located near sewerage works.
Dastan was accepted into The School of St Jude in 2012 in Standard 1, an opportunity he knew he could use to make his dream a reality.
Seven years later, the Form 1 student has been able to take advantage of the resources at St Jude’s and continue his reading in the fully equipped libraries to give him the best chance at a life in the sky.
Part of these extra resources included a school excursion this month to the Kilimanjaro International Airport, a bustling hub of regional and long-haul flights and aircrafts, where industry-leading pilots took Dastan under their wing.
“This has been the best day as I have actually seen pilots at work. I have learnt a lot more of the specifics, like performing the perfect landing and takeoff formations of planes. I would like to work for a big airline like we have seen today, as I would get to travel to new places. I even asked the workers we met today if they had any jobs going but they said I need to go to university first,” Dastan laughed while admiring the a jet landing on the airport’s runway.
It’s a plan that his father Maombe, who works as a security guard and his mother Soki, a factory worker couldn’t be prouder of.
“They are so supportive of me and grateful for all the opportunities St Jude’s is giving me. Before I started at the school life was pretty tough, but when I started at the school my life did a 360, to use an aviation term,” Dastan smiled.
This aviation enthusiast was just one of the 150 wide-eyed Form 1 students thriving from being inside an airport for the first time. None had ever seen an aircraft up close, let alone step on one to travel.
“These practical experiences are part of what differentiates The School of St Jude from other under-resourced government schools. We certainly have many students who want to work in the aviation and travel industries. Quality education is theory, but also practical, and once you take out students to excursions we are giving students motivation to achieve their dreams,” Head of Geography and General Studies, Mr Elimringi said, while ushering students through the airport.
Another highlight was a visit to the airport’s Bureau of Meteorology where students were able to see the topic of weather and climate from their Geography class come to life.
“Weather impacts our lives every day here in Tanzania, in almost every job, so metrology is an important field to understand. I have been able to see how to measure weather practically and I was surprised they had to record rainfall on the rain gauge every three hours,” Form 1 student Beatrice explains, while examining the Bureau’s technology with Dastan.
Both agree that their yearly excursions are preparing them for their future high-flying careers and already have plans about how they will share their good fortune with others.
“One of my wishes is to be able to give back to my fellow St Jude’s students once I am established, help them if they wish to be a pilot too,” Dastan explained, looking out onto the runway.
Certainly Dastan’s flightpath and future is brighter and less bumpy now, compared to the one he first dreamed about under the kerosene lamp, thanks to his St Jude’s education.
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