It’s the start of a new academic year at The School of St Jude. The students are either embarking on or continuing their St Jude’s journey that we believe will prepare them with the necessary knowledge and critical-thinking skills to tackle life’s ever-evolving challenges. It is the school’s mission to educate and mentor well-rounded students who are ready to elevate themselves, their community and their country to a level free from poverty.
In a mere two years our oldest students will become the inaugural graduating class from the secondary school. By 2014 St Jude’s will have a full primary and secondary campus, educating close to 2,000 students from Year 1 to Year 12. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment that has only been made possible by donors, sponsors and supporters from around the world. The staff should also take immense pride of the difference they’ve made in these young lives and continue to make. This school has given a lifeline to a fortunate few who needed it most.
But we’re not done. Not by a mile. Not when only a pithy 41 percent of Tanzanian school children advance to secondary school. Not when one teacher in a government school classroom has to teach 51 students with only a few battered textbooks. Not when half of Tanzanian girls drop out of school because of poor water supply and sanitation. Not when bribery and corruption are still the norm. Not when the national poverty rate is 33 percent of the population (in 2007). Not when life expectancy is just 58 years old.
It’s exhausting thinking about all the people suffering in Tanzania, in East Africa, on the African continent and everywhere else. Families and communities plagued by civil unrest, terrorism, oppression, slavery, natural and economic disasters – the list is endless.
This is why The School of St Jude is now more important than ever. Education is our contribution to the world, that through education we can solve the difficult, complex problems. Open a child’s eyes to the world and its possibilities, and see where it takes them – we hope further and farther than they ever dreamed possible.
St Jude’s has always thought long-term about the future, and we thank everyone who has stood by us, supported us and sang our school song. We thank all the new people who have yet to join us, to wave the St Jude’s flag and believe that an education given to a determined, hard-working individual is the first step in making this world a better, safer place.
With the Kilimanjaro winds behind our sails, St Jude’s pushes further on in 2013.