Generous Aussies are about to find out how they have been instrumental in providing life-changing education in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Former Australian teacher Gemma Sisia opened the gates to The School of St Jude 15 years ago in Tanzania and now, thanks to the support of thousands of Australians, 1,800 promising yet impoverished students have access to a free, high-quality education.
Gemma and one of the inspirational students whose life has been changed by generosity, and the belief that education can combat poverty, will be in the country this month to share their story.
Winrose Mollel graduated last year at the top of her class and was the first St Jude’s graduate to be accepted into university through The School of St Jude’s partnership with The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at ALA.
Later this year, Winrose will head to Trinity College in Connecticut, USA, to begin living her dream of becoming an aeronautical engineer.
“Being offered a scholarship at St Jude’s has changed my life,” Winrose said.
“It has made such a difference and given me the assurance that I could achieve my dream which I never had before at my government school.”
Like many people in Tanzania, Winrose came from extreme poverty, growing up in a rural village where she helped her farmer father raise her younger sister and shared household duties after her mother passed when she was in primary school.
Most girls in similar situations in Tanzania have no choice but to drop out of school, but Winrose was committed to getting an education.
As a primary school student, she walked 2.5km to school each day, shared a desk with five others, had no books, no meals and sometimes no teacher, but she was pushed by a desire to make a brighter future for her family.
“Sometimes I got so hungry during the school day that I developed stomach ulcers. It was hard to study when there were no teachers and no books,” Winrose said. “Now, thanks to St Jude’s, somebody who didn’t know me - had no idea I existed - decided to sponsor me and I’m so thankful and proud to say it has been a good investment.”
In Tanzania, 66.6% of people do not reach secondary school and less than 3.2% make it to the final two years of school. Winrose and her fellow St Jude’s graduates are proof that we are making a difference in the fight against poverty in Tanzania.
“The School of St Jude now has about 1,800 students who have a real chance to escape poverty because they receive a free, high-quality education,” Gemma said. “It’s a dream that we’ve worked hard on, and these amazing students and their families would never have had the opportunity without the support of so many Australians.”
Give Gemma and Winrose a true blue welcome this March!
Our school has only managed to be a success thanks to people like you!
Come along to an event to hear from Gemma and Winrose about the amazing impact you are, or can, make today. Check out the events where they will appear in March and join us in fighting poverty through education!