School of St Jude: Eva Grows Up

The School of St Jude and Africa Dream Safaris are working together to help impoverished children in Tanzania to receive a free, high-quality education, while strengthening ADS’ humanitarian involvement in the East African community. Our monthly donation will buy 2,000 hot, nutritious meals per month for the students. Tanzania is a developing country where one-third of its population lives below the poverty line, on less than $1.25 per day. A majority of children in Tanzanian schools do not receive lunch or any food, so they cannot focus on learning when they’re hungry. St Jude’s provides daily meals for students, as well as breakfast and dinner for the over 1,100 students who live in their boarding houses. All produce is sourced from the local community.

Below is the story about a student named Eva from the School of St Jude. (Provided by SSJ)

Six years ago, young Eva’s face beamed from the cover of the autobiography of our school founder Gemma Sisia, titled ‘St Jude’s.’ Eva was a young girl who was still realizing her dreams. She epitomized the happy, bright eyed child at St Jude’s who is overjoyed about getting a free, high quality education. Now she has grown and is developing into a well-adjusted young adult. She is in Form 1 and has big aspirations, with a world of possibilities in front of her. This is her story.

Eva started at St Jude’s in 2006, when the school was just four years old and we had just over 600 students and around 115 staff. Eva’s family includes her father, John, mother, Penina and younger brothers Richard and Benjamin. They live in a two-room brick home and like many other Tanzanian dwellings, the home has no plumbing (water is collected from a neighborhood tap for a small monthly fee) and meals are prepared over a charcoal or basic kerosene-fueled stove.

To support the family, Eva’s father finds work where he can as a carpenter and a mason. Her mother works at their home as a tailor. They are big supporters of Eva’s education and encourage her to continue learning in the hope that one day she will have qualifications and a successful career so she can break the cycle of poverty for herself, help them and her community.

Eva showed promise as a capable student at a young age. As a child, she would often ask her parents to send her to a school which would enable her to learn English. “I wanted to learn English because I knew in this world of today that I needed it and I strived to get a high quality education as I wanted to have a bright future,” she said.

She grew up playing with her younger brother and their games would regularly revolve around learning. “There was one game where we liked to draw and the first one to finish was the winner. The aim of it was that you drew things, like an egg and you also wrote the name of it in English. So, I always liked to play games where I could learn new words.”
Before St Jude’s, Eva attended a government school where nearly all of her subjects were in Swahili. It was a limited learning environment where Eva felt she was not able to reach her full potential. She remembers hearing about St Jude’s at her old school and then soon applied. It was a turning point in her life.

After passing the relevant checks, she was accepted and began a new chapter of her life. “When I found out I was going to St Jude’s, I thought it was amazing and I was very happy. It meant a lot to me,” said Eva. Since then she has fulfilled a number of milestones. She successfully completed her seven years of primary schooling, has begun high school and has impressively scored A’s in almost all of her subjects. She also boards at the school’s Smith campus which is preparing her to be a strong, independent individual.

Eva’s life has been transformed because of her education. She has sponsors in Australia and is acutely aware that their support has enabled her to have clean uniforms, a place to board, fresh, nutritional food, committed teachers and access to state-of-the-art ICT laboratories and well-stocked libraries.

Research supports the assertion that sponsorship can make a huge difference in a child’s life. Bruce Wydick, an economist from the University of San Francisco carried out a study in six countries over three continents, including in Uganda and Kenya. He and his team studied more than 10-thousand individuals who had been sponsored in the 1980s. The overall result was that student sponsorship works and that 50 to 80 per cent are more likely to complete a university education.

“By sponsoring a child at St Jude’s you will change the life of that child, their family, their community and contribute to changing their country. The evidence says it works, the economics says it works and if you visit the school you can see for yourself that it works. What better way is there of using your money?” said St Jude’s School Director John Ford.
Eva, the little girl that once shyly took her first steps through the St Jude’s gates seven years ago, has grown into a happy, confident young adult. She is like any other teenager who enjoys spending time with her friends and playing card games. In a few years, Eva plans to head to university to study engineering and work in Tanzania. Like the young girl on the cover of St Jude’s, she is optimistic, loving life, has the world at her feet and ready to embrace it.

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