As Australia celebrates National Volunteer Week, an increasing number of Australians are embarking on the trip of a lifetime, by volunteering for the not-for-profit, The School of St Jude in Tanzania, East Africa. More than 50 Australian and international volunteers are devoting their time, skills and expertise to this unique school which is providing a free, high-quality education to more than 1,600 impoverished children.
A little piece of Australia has found its way to Tanzania with an increasing number of Australian volunteers breaking free from the office grind to experience life in the small city of Arusha, north of the country. More than 30 Australian volunteers are currently at The School of St Jude, in a variety of roles, including teacher mentors, administration, sponsorship, marketing and IT. It's a family of all sorts, as volunteers work, live and socialise together. Australian Lynn McMahon jumped at the chance to volunteer at the school when the opportunity arose in 2011, "I would tell anyone to come and do it! I enjoy seeing the teachers and staff grow and develop their skills and understanding. You really feel you are making a difference," she says.
The School's Founder Gemma Sisia, 2012 Australian of the Year finalist, has seen many volunteers leave their mark. "Our volunteers are a dedicated bunch and at the very start, slept on mattresses on the floor or in tents while the school was being built. I'm proud of how far the school has come thanks to the generosity of others. My dream is to have volunteers build the capacity of local staff so the school is sustainable well into the future," she said.
Everyday, The School of St Jude volunteers work alongside 450 local Tanzanian staff to help the students break free from the cycle of poverty that has entrenched their families. The volunteers value the experience of devoting their time to a remarkable cause. They see first-hand, the difficulties of the disadvantaged, Tanzanian children but also their joy at getting a quality education.
National Volunteer Week runs from 13-19 May 2013
For more information on The School of St Jude and an up to date list of volunteer vacancies, visit http://www.schoolofstjude.org.
For interview requests:
Gemma Sisia - Founder of The School of St Jude - is available for interviews via Skype or telephone from Tanzania.
Kim Saville - Volunteer at St Jude's for 10 years is currently in Australia and is available for print, radio and television interviews
The School of St Jude
The School of St Jude is a charity funded school that provides a free, high-quality primary and secondary education to over 1,600 of the poorest, brightest children of Arusha region, Tanzania, East Africa. The school, located across three campuses, also provides boarding for 1,000 students, and employs over 450 Tanzanians. It was founded by Australian Gemma Sisia in 2002.