An unemployed single mother with no opportunity to escape poverty. That’s what Blandina predicts her life would look like if she did not receive an education.
“I would just be a girl at home or maybe married because girls in Africa, if they don’t get an education, they only end up getting married at a very young age,” the 21-year-old says.
Blandina has witnessed the impact a lack of access to education has had in Tanzania, where the average girl is out of school before her 12th birthday.
According to the United Nations, only 22% of Tanzanian women have attended secondary school and one in 10 is pregnant before her 19th birthday.
Coming from a desperately poor family in the Arusha suburb of Unga Limited, Blandina thanks the supporters of St Jude’s for giving her the life-changing opportunity to finish school with a high-quality education.
"I’m really excited about the education that I got from The School of St Jude and I’m happy to know that I’m going to continue with my education and that one day I can make a very big impact to the Tanzanian community," she says.
Blandina graduated as part of an inaugural Form 6 class that finished in the top 10% in Tanzania, with more than half the students receiving the top mark of distinction.
Of the 61 inaugural graduates 26 were female and there are plenty more to come, with girls making up 57% of the more than 1800 students at St Jude’s.
In a country where women’s education is sorely lacking, St Jude’s is leading the way in the International Women’s Day 2016 theme of “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.
Blandina and her fellow 2015 graduates are already showing the ripple effect of a quality education by volunteering through the Beyond St Jude’s Community Service Program.
Blandina is helping at her severely under-resourced government school, where she teaches commerce to classes of more than 70 students.
Together, Blandina and her fellow graduates are helping at 18 government schools and have reached more than 10,000 students.
“I’m interested in helping the people around the place I live because that is where I can give what I have received from The School of St Jude,” Blandina says.
“Schools hardly have enough teachers so if St Jude’s keeps on doing this I think it will bring Tanzania to a better position."
Find out how you can help a girl like Blandina become a future leader in Tanzania by learning about our sponsorship programs.