Long way from Tanzania to Australia to say ‘thank you’
CHILDREN from Toowoomba are not the only students receiving an education at Mater Dei Primary School.
For close to a decade the staff and students have sponsored a student attending The School of St Jude in Tanzania.
Through their support, Year 10 student Solomon has received a free education since he was six years old.
"The school has staged various fundraisers for Solomon over the years," former teacher Katie Mills said.
"The children also write letters to Solomon.
"I think this is something the school wants to stay committed to when Solomon moves on.
"It sits well with the Catholic ethos of the school."
The School of St Jude was established in 2002 by Australian woman Gemma Sisia.
The school has grown from just two to 1600 students.
Not only does the school provide free education to some of the country's poorest and most vulnerable, it has also provided many opportunities for local communities.
Felix Mollel is one such example.
Mr Mollel started at the school in 2005 as a bus driver.
He couldn't speak English but was taught by caring teachers at the school and is now employed as the institution's visitor co-ordinator.
Mr Mollel is rightly proud of his achievements and was excited to tour Australia to meet with St Jude supporters.
"This is my first time out of Africa," he said.
Mr Mollel said it was an exciting opportunity to share the message of St Jude.
"Giving free, quality education is really aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty in Tanzania," he said.
"If you are born poor, you remain poor because you can't get an education."
Mr Mollel also attended a lunch with more than 90 Rotarians at Regents on the Lake while in Toowoomba.
The lunch raised $4000 for the African school.
For more about The School of St Jude visit www.schoolofstjude.org