Nurturing Tomorrow’s Leaders

Congratulations: Long’ida (left) and Vivian (right) are the newly elected top leaders of the Student Government at St Jude’s Secondary School.

One of the most coveted opportunities at St Jude’s is a chance to serve in the school government. Every year, students across St Jude’s three campuses contest for a spot in one of the many leadership roles within the student government.

“You need to be influential to stand a chance to win,” says Long'ida, the newly elected Student Government Chairperson at St Jude’s Secondary School.  “This means developing a relatable personal brand among your schoolmates and having strong interpersonal and people skills to earn their trust,” he adds. 

Long’ida joined St Jude’s 12 years ago as a Standard 1 student. He had never imagined that he would rise to become the chairperson of the student government one day. In spite of his calm and composed personality, he demonstrated strong personal values and leadership skills that gradually caught the attention of his peers and teachers. 

“I was appointed as a Table Leader a few years ago,” recalls Long’ida. “At the outset, it looked like a fairly easy task but it’s amazing how simple responsibilities shape you as a person. Through this role, I learned invaluable lessons of patience, empathy, management, and even conflict resolution,” he adds. 

Charming as Always: Long’ida catching up with fellow students in between class hours.

This experience opened new opportunities for him within the school. He has since served as a Level Coordinator, a Dormitory Leader, and ultimately the Student Government Chairperson, the highest position in the student government. 

Along with Long’ida is Vivian, St Jude’s Student Vice Government Chairperson. Unlike Long’ida, Vivian discovered her flair for leadership at an early stage and has held various positions since joining St Jude’s 11 years ago. 

“I think being a leader makes you understand yourself better,” reflects Vivian. “My perspective and attitude have improved over the years of my leadership experience. For instance, I no longer see problems as challenges anymore but opportunities for growth,” says Vivian. 

In addition to the personal growth she gained through leadership, Vivian has also benefited from St Jude’s extensive resources and support. Regular training sessions and access to a wealth of resources, such as the school library and computer rooms, contribute significantly to students' development as leaders.

In spite of her responsibilities, Vivian is charming and outgoing. She enjoys playing netball and decorating. In her free time, she practices poetry and reads inspirational books at the school library. 

 “I approach life one step at a time,” says Vivian. “My dream is to use all the experience and skills that I have to help my country and community,” she adds. 

Walking the Talk: Vivian and Long’ida seek to lead by example.

At St Jude’s, the Student Government enables aspiring leaders to develop their skills and personal attributes. It instils the spirit of solidarity and cooperation on campus whilst nurturing the future leaders of Tanzania. 

Building a Brighter Future

A Proud Entrepreneur: Zacharia working in his office.

From a young age, Zacharia aspired to work hard so that one day, he could support his mother and siblings. He put a lot of effort into his studies and greatly improved his academic performance until he became one of the top students in class. His hard work eventually paid off and Zacharia was invited to apply for a scholarship at St Jude’s. 

“And the rest was history,” says Zacharia with a smile. “St Jude’s was like no other school I had seen before. I immediately knew this place would have a lasting impact on me,” he adds.  

Zacharia completed his primary school education at a government school and joined St Jude’s for secondary school. Coming from a government school, he was initially fascinated by the resources and opportunities available at St Jude’s. Zacharia continued his hardworking spirit at St Jude’s where he spent the next six years. In his free time, he tried his hand at different sports and extracurricular activities.

“I have plenty of good memories from my time at St Jude,” says Zacharia. “Some of my best experiences were serving as the Entertainment Prefect and participating in career and science fairs,” he adds enthusiastically. 


After six years at St Jude’s, Zacharia graduated Form 6 with St Jude’s inaugural class of 2015.

In Tanzania, secondary school education is divided into two levels: the first four years are called Ordinary Level (O Level) studies; from Form 1 to Form 4, and the final two years of Advanced Level (A Level) studies; Form 5 and 6. According to a 2017 UNESCO report, only 12% of students who start secondary school in Form 1 complete Form 4, with poverty being one of the main factors for the high dropouts. At St Jude’s, on the other hand, 100% of students who start secondary school in Form 1 complete Form 4, and 100% of the students that choose to continue onto A Level completeing Form 6. 

“Graduating Form 6 was a proud moment for me and my family,” reflects Zacharia. “In addition to my academic qualification, I have acquired valuable connections, practical skills and knowledge that are useful to this day,” he adds. 

Giving Back: Zacharia with some of his students during his Community Service Year (CSY). 

Zacharia was one of the first students to join the Beyond St Jude’s Scholarship Program (BSJSP) for Form 6 students. As part of the BSJSP, graduates participate in a year of community service, volunteering to teach at understaffed government schools or at various non-teaching placements within St Jude’s. Those who successfully complete their community service placement are then eligible to receive a Tertiary scholarship to pursue their first higher education qualification; enabling them to become the future professionals that their country needs.

“I spent the next year after my graduation volunteering at one of the public schools in Arusha,” shares Zacharia. “It was a fulfilling experience that enabled me to share the skills and experience that I acquired at St Jude’s,” he adds passionately. 

Zacharia now holds a bachelor’s degree in building economics from one of Tanzania’s top universities. He is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is currently building his real estate business. Zacharia has fulfilled his lifelong dream of supporting his family: he has renovated his home, pays for his siblings’ tuition fees, and routinely supports his mother financially. He is living proof of our alumni fighting poverty through education.

Q & A with Omega

Happy to Be Back: Omega (second from right) returned to St Jude’s as part of the Health Check team.

Every year, St Jude’s conducts health checks for all 1,800 students across its three schools. Health checks help the school identify any health issues of our students and any special adjustments they may need, ultimately, enhancing their overall school experience, well-being, and academic excellence.

Guiding this process is a team of international volunteers who spend two weeks each year at St Jude’s conducting various checks on students. With diverse backgrounds and expertise, these volunteers bring fresh and valuable experience and knowledge to improve students’ health.

We recently caught up with Omega, a St Jude’s alum who volunteered for this year’s health checks. Omega currently works as a radiologist at one of Arusha’s largest hospitals.

What inspired you to join the Health Check team?

One day, I met Gemma at the hospital where I work. We talked and she asked if I was interested in volunteering as part of a health team that was coming to St Jude’s. I was excited at the opportunity and promptly applied for it.   

How did it feel coming back to St Jude’s as part of the Health Check team?

It was a wonderful experience. I had the opportunity to work alongside a diverse team of medical professionals. We had plenty of meaningful conversations and I got to know a lot about what goes on behind the scenes during the health checks.

What did you enjoy most from health checks as a student?

The whole experience was great and a lot of fun. We would ask the team lots of questions and sometimes they brought us treats such as candy.

Did you always want to get into the medical field?

My childhood dream was to join the military. I began exploring other interests as I grew older and ultimately settled for a career in the medical field. It’s been a fulfilling journey ever since.

How would you describe your experience in one word?

Amazing! I’d love to do it again in the future! 

Tanzania Vs USA

Making Memories: A team from Culver academies at a group photo with St Jude’s students.


Perhaps the most glaring difference between the countries is the size. The USA is about ten times the size of Tanzania.

Sports Culture

Tanzanians are passionate about football (soccer), with local leagues and matches drawing enthusiastic crowds. In contrast, Americans are known for their love of sports American football, baseball, basketball. Other popular team sports in America include ice hockey and soccer.


Some of the most popular foods in the USA include hamburgers, sandwiches, hotdogs, pizza, and steak. Every year, millions of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with a special dinner that mostly involves roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing (or “dressing”), and some kind of pie for dessert. On the other hand, the staple food for Tanzanians is rice, cooked banana, beans, and ugali (stiff porridge made from ground maize).

National Animal

The USA has two national animals, the bald eagle and the American bison. In Tanzania, the national animal is the Masai giraffe.

Iconic Landscapes

The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic landscapes in the USA while Tanzania is home to the tallest mountain in Africa, Mt Kilimanjaro.

Everyone can join the fight against poverty

Counting it up: Penny Wars generates plenty of pennies donated to a good cause.  

There are countless ways to support St Jude’s mission of fighting poverty through education. While most supporters choose to donate, sponsor a scholarship, spread the word, or organize a fundraiser, here are a few that got particularly creative.

Students at Culver Academies in the United States found a way to leverage competitions among themselves to raise funds for St Jude’s.

“As a boarding school, we have smaller communities within the school called dorms and barracks,” explains Alexandria, a student at Culver Academies. “Naturally, there is plenty of competition between students from different dorms. So, we developed a system in which a dorm can earn an extra point when one of its members donates a penny to a good cause. We call this Penny Wars,” she explains.

Alexandria is also one of the leaders of a student-run organization called the Leadership Committee for Africa (LCA). The LCA organizes different fundraising programs to support charities that promote health, welfare, education, and advancement of women and children. They currently support three organizations in Africa and St Jude’s is one of them.

“Being a student-led program, we organize our own fundraising programs and activities to financially support our partner organizations,” explains Alexandria. “In addition to Penny Wars, we also fund our mission by conducting community fundraisers and occasionally selling treats such as popcorn and candy for charity at social and sports events,” she adds.

Each One Counts: Penny Wars involves students collecting pennies in jars found at the school’s dining hall.

On another occasion, seven-year-old Serena came up with the brilliant idea of giving out free lemonade on a popular bicycle path in her neighborhood. With help from her father, she raised $111 in one day!  All proceeds were donated to St Jude’s!

Super Supporters: Serena and her father fundraising for St Jude’s.

Empowering Girls to Pursue Their Dreams

In Tanzania, only approximately 30% of adolescent girls are enrolled in secondary education. The dropout rate is due to a complex set of circumstances, so, to do our part in supporting girls’ choices, St Jude’s introduced a clear strategy to encourage the education and empowerment of girls at the school and tertiary levels.

St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School

The biggest milestone of St Jude’s strategic plan, to encourage women in education, was opening St Jude’s Girls’ Secondary School in January 2020. The purpose of opening this new facility was to grant even more females the opportunity for free, quality education. The new school particularly encourages female students to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects for it’s recognized that more Tanzanian women leaders are needed in these fields.

By opening the girls’ secondary school, St Jude’s was able to offer more scholarships to female students in Form 1.

In Tanzania’s schooling system, there are three key stages. The first is primary school which comprises of seven years education from Standard 1 to 7. Then there is secondary school, with Ordinary Level (O Level) studies going from Form 1 to Form 4, and Advanced Level (A-Level) studies from Form 5 to 6.

As of 2022, the Standard 1 and 2 intake of girls was 75% which is a milestone to celebrate. Also, when it comes to national figures for women in tertiary education, the female-to-male ratio is approximately 1-to-28. However, at St Jude’s the ratio is equal to one female for every male studying at university.

Female Empowerment

At St Jude’s, females are encouraged to participate in healthy competition with their male counterparts. This can be seen with the National Examination results of 2022 where the females outperformed their male counterparts. Female students are also actively participating in extracurricular activities where they can develop 21st-century soft-skills.

One such female student, Even Ernest Mbise, participated in the Mathlete competition hosted by Strathmore University in Kenya. The team comprised of herself and five other male students. Up against many other schools, the St Jude’s team came first in the competition, with Even coming in sixth place for the individual scoring. This inspirational story of female empowerment is one of many at The School of St Jude.

At St Jude’s, education is seen as the key to a promising future for students and in creating the future leaders of tomorrow for the community. The focus on empowering females to receive an education and pursue their ambitions has a far-reaching impact throughout the entire country.

St Jude’s Encourages Entrepreneurship

At The School of St Jude, the significant impact entrepreneurship has on a community and a nation is widely acknowledged. Students that show potential in either innovative or social entrepreneurship are encouraged and nurtured by the school. This is demonstrated by the statistical data that tell a story of how the entrepreneurial graduates of St Jude’s have contributed to the economic development and growth of their communities.

Over the last four years, 30 businesses have been successfully established by St Jude’s alumni, which has led to the creation of over 250 new employment opportunities and the mentorship of more than 2,000 people nationwide.

How does entrepreneurship benefit a nation?

St Jude’s recognizes that the significance of entrepreneurship extends beyond the business world. The three main roles entrepreneurship plays in society include accelerating economic growth, promoting innovation, and cultivating societal change.

1. Accelerating Economic Growth

At St Jude’s, it is understood that entrepreneurship ventures can act as the wheel of the nation’s economic growth. The acceleration of economic development results from the conception of new products or services that stimulate new employment opportunities. These new jobs are generally entry-level positions that are valuable to unskilled job searchers. It provides new opportunities for these members of the community to become skilled professionals which has a ripple effect on the economic growth of the entire nation.

2. Promoting Innovation

St Jude’s also has initiatives that encourage innovation at the school including the Science Day where students showcase the innovative projects they have been working on. It is important to stimulate innovation as it plays a major role in solving either technological or societal problems the community faces

3. Cultivating societal change

By introducing new or improved products or services, entrepreneurs have the potential to leverage underutilized resources in effective and beneficial ways while bettering the welfare of their communities.

The Green Venture

In December 2015, St Jude’s alumni Edmund Tarimo founded Green Venture. This initiative aims to address the problem of plastic waste by using innovative technologies to turn the waste into durable building materials. Hence the fitting slogan Transforming Trash Into Treasure.

Edmund first had his idea and presented it to the St Jude’s Science Day and the idea blossomed into a successful, impactful business it is today. He began this initiative in Arusha, Tanzania. He was motivated by the complex societal issues of displacement and plastic waste that resulted from his witnessing floods in Dar Es Salaam when he was fifteen years old. The floods destroyed 700 mud houses and displaced all the residents. His entrepreneurial mindset led him to solving both the societal issues of plastic waste and displacement due to nondurable building materials. He achieved this by creating high-quality building products from plastic lumber, that is termite and water-resistant with higher tensile strength than typical wood. His entrepreneurial contribution to Tanzania won his initiative the “Best Circular Economy Business” title at the world’s largest green business challenge Climate Launch Pad in 2020.

All in all, St Jude’s supports and encourages entrepreneurship in students for it is recognized as having a positive impact on Tanzania’s economic development and societal growth. What’s more, social entrepreneurship finds innovative solutions to complex global societal challenges which ripple positive change extending beyond the Tanzanian borders and into the world.

Where Are They Now?

After the students of St Jude’s have finished their schooling, they have the opportunity to either continue their studies at the tertiary or college level or opt to find jobs in their chosen professions. The school also developed the Beyond St Jude’s (BSJ) Scholarship Program to assist students with pursuing their future aspirations. So where are they now?

Beyond St Jude’s

The Beyond St Jude’s Scholarship Program (BSJSP) has two main components; community service and higher education.  Graduates have the opportunity to apply for the BSJSP in Form or Form 6.

There are three key stages of schooling in Tanzania. It starts with seven years of primary school from Standard 1 to 7. Then four years of secondary school from Form 1 to Form 4 in Ordinary Level (O Level) studies. Lastly, students complete two more years of secondary school from Form 5 to 6 in Advanced Level (A Level) studies.

The first chance graduates can apply for BSJSP is the Alternative Path Program, which is an initiative that was created for Form 4 graduates who wish to take an alternative path to finishing their final two years of schooling. They participate in a Community Service Semester, before joining higher education in college to pursue diploma or certificate courses.

Our Form 6 graduates can apply for BSJSP and must successfully complete a Community Service Year (CSY) before they go on to access higher education through a Tertiary scholarship.

During community service component of the program, our graduates have the option of either giving back to their communities by teaching at government schools or they can volunteer to work with one of St Jude’s internal Head Office teams.

If students choose to volunteer internally with St Jude’s, they’ll gain valuable skills in areas such as marketing, communications and data analytics. The soft and hard skillsets they attain will prepare them for real-world professional settings and increase their chances of employability.

The students that volunteer to teach at government schools play a vital role in addressing the country’s problem of teacher shortages. On average, government school classes have 65 students to one teacher.

Since the inception of the community service initiative, over 100,000 government school students across 70 schools have experienced the far-reaching rippling effect of St Jude’s. It has also saved government schools over $1.3M in teachers' salaries.

Students at University or College

Since 2015, over 400 St Jude’s graduates have attended either university or college supported by the BSJSP. Those students that do not get a scholarship through Beyond St Jude’s will typically apply for external scholarships or government loans that will help support their pathway into tertiary education. In a country where only 8% of tertiary-aged young adults go to higher education, 97% of St Jude’s alumni that go on to study at the tertiary level; that is twelve times the national rate.

Since 2015, St Jude’s alumni have studied at 45 different universities within Tanzania and in 13 different countries spanning North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Currently, alumni are studying in countries such as the United States, Botswana, Mauritius, Russia, Germany, Malaysia, Costa Rica and more. The fields of study include business, STEM, medicine, and agriculture.

The students abroad demonstrate high adaptability and tenacity in the face of adversity, such as Elibariki Ngitoria, who graduated from St Jude’s in 2015. Driven by his future aspiration of becoming a Doctor, Elibariki has been studying at Tula University in Russia where he had to learn Russian to be able to undertake a Bachelor of General Medicine. It is student stories such as his that inspire hope

How Changing a Student’s Life, Changes a Parent’s Life

When a student is accepted into The School of St Jude, the impact extends beyond the student’s education. Having their rights to quality education upheld has a rippling effect that affects the members of their family, such as parents and siblings, as well as the community. The way this occurs takes different forms, such as through the sharing of learning from students to parents and through the offloading of parent’s financial and mental stresses.

When it comes to the Tanzanian schooling system, there are three key stages. The first is primary school (Standard 1 to Standard 7). The next is secondary school which is comprised of Ordinary Level (Form 1 to Form 4) and Advance Level (Form 5 to Form 6). To the students and their parents, The School of St Jude is more than providing free, quality education and it is more than a school. It means more support and a future of hope.

Reducing financial stresses

For the families of St Jude’s, over their child’s thirteen years of schooling, the families save an average of US$6,500 on costs that are covered by the school; including food, boarding, education, transportation, and so on. What’s even more impressive, is that our data reveals that over the 13 years of schooling, the average family income improves by approximately 15% for each year their child is at school.

However, through St Jude’s rippling effect regarding financial and social support, after 13 years of schooling a student’s family has on average tripled their income and exceeded the Extreme Poverty Line. This is even more important as economically, those living in such extreme financial circumstances rarely improve along with the rest of a country’s economic growth. In fact, according to World Bank data, the bottom 40% of the economy in Tanzania actually had a -0.15% growth outcome over a seven year period. When we see our family’s incomes over 13 years on average

growing by 15% per year, on that is a significant difference. That’s why it’s more than education!

When you teach a child, the community learns

Our students are spreading knowledge! Quite often, our have parents who did not have the means to complete schooling beyond primary school. This makes the new knowledge our students acquire at St Jude’s invaluable to their family members and their communities.

There are many inspiring stories of how our students sharing what they learn in the classroom has touched their communities. There were some students who learnt new agricultural practices that they shared with their families to put into practice on their own farms. There were also students that were able to teach their parents English or numerical skills so that their parents were able to get better-paying jobs. The power of sharing knowledge in leading transformation, for both families and communities, cannot be understated. When students learn, parents and community’s benefit.

Less stress, more support

St Jude’s students are supported with free, quality education, onsite boarding for all secondary students, three nutritional meals a day including fruits and vegetables for snacks, around-the-clock support from teachers or boarding parents, a community of diverse school friends, as well as safe and reliable transportation between home and school for the students that do not board.

This support is invaluable to the parents as well. From a financial perspective, parents can better support the rest of their family when one of their children is being well cared for by the generosity of sponsors and the school. This also contributes to the alleviation of stress on the parent's mental well-being as they no longer need to worry about their child being in danger or in facing unreasonable hardship in attaining an education. In the end, upholding the right every child has to education ripples life-changing benefits not only in their lives but for their parents and their communities too.

Parents Uniting with a Mission

At The School of St Jude, the Mawimbi in the lives of the students extends beyond the academic and has a far-reaching impact on families. A key piece of localizing our impact is the engagement of the community and part of the way in which we achieve this is through our Parents Committee. When you donate or sponsor a scholarship at St Jude’s it is more than providing a child’s education, it means ensuring they are supported and cared for holistically beyond the academic. That’s the Mawimbi, it’s more than education.

Who are the Parent Committee?

The Parent Committee is made up of 55 parent representatives. The prominent members are Chairperson, Charles Kinga, and Vice Chairperson, Juliana Simons.

The purpose of the Parent Committee is for parents to unite with a mission to provide input and insight into decisions regarding student welfare and school disciplinary issues. With the majority of St Jude’s staff members being based in the Head Office, the Parent Committee plays a vital role in understanding the complex challenges students and their families may be facing in different community areas.

The Parent Committee is an initiative that was created to ensure that families have representation and at every level, the school is engaging a diverse range of voices for the best outcomes for the students. The parents that volunteer their time on the committee all have a child that attends The School of St Jude.

What does the Parents Committee do?

The parents are an integral part of the school, providing unique perspectives and insights across a variety of areas from:

The Parent Committee is the backbone of ensuring the holistic support of children above and beyond the academic. Beyond just their education. The Mawimbi is an extra layer of local support for families and children through the school. The School of St Jude’s is more than education.