Sunday, February 1, 2009

The School of St. Jude

When I began this blog, my primary goal was to provide devotees of St. Jude a venue to publish their messages of thanks. Simple enough. Technology has advanced sufficiently and become suitably clear to provide many of us the means to help others. With each posting, I soon realized one could do so much more to strengthen the faith and resolve of those who seek the solace of St. Jude.

We turn to the saint when we encounter difficult, challenging, hopeless situations we feel, deep down inside, are impossible, overwhelming, unsolvable. Sometimes, we despair. But, if we look around, we see many, many examples of faith, hope, strength and endurance. In our darkest hours, let these examples be our guiding lights.

So, I decided to profile some of these lights (that I could trace back to St. Jude) and bring them to you. There are many out there. I/we just have to look for them. God bless.

From the website (About Us: Who Are We?) of The School of St. Jude in Arusha, Tanzania (East Africa): "The School of St. Jude is a sponsorship-supported English Medium School in Tanzania that primarily serves orphaned and vulnerable children from the lowest socio-economic backgrounds. The school blends the best of Western and Tanzanian instructional methods to instill critical thinking and high moral Christian values in students who will later become the leaders and builders of Tanzania."

The founder of the school is Gemma Sisia. From ABC Brisbane (Australia): "Gemma Sisia is a woman with an outrageous amount of energy. With $10 in her bank account, the former Guyra farm girl set up a school in Tanzania for poor but bright African children. Gemma found sponsors and supporters in Australia, and literally helped build the school - brick by brick - on an idyllic piece of land at the foot of Mount Meru in Tanzania. She named the school 'St Jude's' after the patron saint of lost causes - but in fact the school is a huge success, bringing a decent modern education to 890 kids who would otherwise be doing manual labour. She's written about her amazing experiences in her book called, simply, St Jude's."

Gemma's book, St. Jude's, from, " the remarkable story of an Australian girl from the bush who's busy transforming the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of African children. Her name is Gemma Sisia, and she runs a school in Tanzania called The School of St Jude.

Gemma's idea is simple. Her school is for the very poorest kids, the ones whose families can't afford the clothes or books or even pencils to send their children to the supposedly "free" government schools. These are the children of illiterate parents, whose destiny is to remain trapped in a cycle of poor education, illiteracy and poverty. Her slogan is "fighting poverty through education".

Gemma started St Jude's (named after the patron saint of hopeless causes) in 2002 with an 18-year-old volunteer teacher from Sydney, three kids and her own boundless energy. From those humble beginnings, the school now has over 850 students, and one of the best academic records in the country. There are plans for a second campus, and a long term aim of reproducing the hugely successful formula across Tanzania and East Africa. St Jude's is an astonishing success for kids who would otherwise have no hope and no future. This is a truly amazing story about how the determination of one person can help change the world."

This blog receives no commission from a purchase of the book through the previous link.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for doing this-very thoughtful.
    Yes I am a very loyal fan of St Jude. When I started the school back in 2002, my father gave me a very loved picture of St Jude which had belonged to my great, grandmother-it hangs on the wall behind me in my office. A friend from home also gave me a 2ft statue and so he sits on my desk (so I can swipe him every now and then when he is slacking on the job!). St Jude and I have a great relationship and I am sure that this is why the school has grown to now over 1200 students. My personal email address is and just incase you are wondering...I have 170 new kids which enrolled in the school 2 weeks ago who need to be sponsored!! Many thanks to all of you! St Jude lives!