The School of St Jude: fighting poverty through education in Tanzania


Catholic Outlook School of St Jude Story
The School of St Jude is a charity funded school that provides a free, high-quality primary and secondary education to more than 1,500 of the poorest and brightest children of the Arusha region

By Virginia Knight, Catholic Outlook, December 2012/January 2013

In 2002, a young Gemma Sisia from Guyra near Armidale in NSW travelled across the world to follow her dream and start a school to educate children who though poor in worldly goods were rich in intellect and had a thirst for knowledge.

Gemma’s dream began when she volunteered at the Kalungu Girls’ Training Centre in Uganda after graduating from university in Australia.

“I became close friends with the art teacher, a local girl named Gertrude,” Gemma said.

“We would often talk about how to break the poverty cycle for the underprivileged girls and concluded that without raising the standard of education across the board, no amount of foreign money could alleviate the widespread poverty that’s rampant throughout East Africa.

“Only through a proper education would younger generations be able to lift themselves and their communities from the doldrums of poverty and destitution.

“Teach a child that they can change the world, that they can make a difference in the future of their country – that’s where we can begin to fight poverty in Third World countries.”

Bishop Kevin Manning, then the Bishop of Armidale and now Bishop Emeritus of Parramatta, was very supportive of Gemma’s initial work.

“Bishop Manning helped me to get my first article into a newspaper when I first wanted to raise money to build The School of St Jude,” Gemma said.

“He helped me to talk at a few Masses where I was able to get my first sponsors and donors who are still helping us today. It’s thanks to the tremendous donors, sponsors and supporters over the past decade that all of this has been possible.”

With the assistance of Rotary International Gemma began a monthly contribution scheme to fund children’s education. With the generous donation of a parcel of land in Tanzania the idea for the school began to take shape.

Read full story at the Catholic Outlook site

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