Known for her humour and charitable heart, Rebel Wilson has been a champion for St Jude’s since 2006, well before she became one of Australia’s beloved household names.
Rebel, an internationally acclaimed actress, writer and producer, is best known for starring in blockbuster films including Pitch Perfect, Bridesmaids and, more recently, Cats.
Although her life has changed dramatically since 2006, one thing has never waned… her loyal support for The School of St Jude.
Nearly 15 years ago, Rebel began sponsoring an academic scholarship for Winnie, one of the school’s first students. Since graduating from St Jude’s in 2016, Winnie has gone on to pursue a degree in Business Studies at university.
Rebel and Winnie finally met in person during Rebel’s visit to St Jude’s in 2014. During her time in Arusha, Rebel saw firsthand how her support had made a profound impact on St Jude’s and its students.
Rebel delivered a heartfelt message of hope to our students during her visit to the school six years ago… a message that’s never lost its impact:
“Education is your key to opportunity. I know I come from Australia, but I didn't grow up with much. I just believed in myself and always tried to improve. My advice would be to try your absolute hardest at school. Study hard and try different activities so that when you finish secondary school, there will be lots of opportunities for you to pursue,” she encouraged.
Rebel recently won US$250,000 as a contestant on the hit television show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire USA – Celebrity Edition and pledged to donate her winnings to The School of St Jude – a pledge that, after the perils of 2020, came as a thrill to our whole school community.
Rebel’s donation will fund the entire education of 20 university students through our Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) program; all of whom come from backgrounds of severe poverty.
Furaha is one of BSJ’s Tertiary scholars who will benefit directly from Rebel’s support and receive the gift of free education. She is the youngest of four children. The opportunities she’s received at St Jude’s so far, and thanks to further support from Rebel, allow her to proudly step towards a brighter future.
Since graduating from St Jude’s in 2019, Furaha has been helping her fellow Tanzanians through BSJ’s Community Service Year program, teaching chemistry and biology to students in one of Tanzania’s under-resourced government schools.
BSJ’s Community Service Year program encourages St Jude’s graduates to volunteer within their communities, giving to others with the same spirit of generosity that St Jude’s international supporters, like Rebel Wilson, have given to them.
Now, thanks to Rebel’s gift, Furaha can take her next bold leap: studying at one of Tanzania’s most renowned universities.
“I’m going to study Environmental Health Science. My dream is to become an Environmental Health Officer and help others in my community!” Furaha joyfully declared.
Rebel, too, reaps rewards from supporting St Jude’s and supporting others in need.
“I think the work that of St Jude’s is important and amazing. I love that my donations are directly helping individuals at the school. Now that I am in a fortunate position, it feels good to give back,” Rebel said.
St Jude’s Founder, Gemma Sisia, is also overjoyed by Rebel’s continued support for St Jude’s.
“Rebel, because of you, 20 of our amazing graduates can soar to new heights as they pursue higher education. They will lead their families and communities to growth and prosperity,” Gemma said.
It certainly pays to be a Rebel with a cause.
In support of Rebel’s cause, The American Friends of The School of St Jude, AFSJ, ran a contest to predict how much Rebel would win, and Rachelle, a supporter from America, emerged the winner and walked away with a Tanzanian goodie bag.