Wednesday 1st March 2017 12:30 am - 02:00 am
Speaker: Gemma Sisia OAM
Topic: Fighting Poverty through Education
Gemma Sisia OAM, St Jude School, Tanzania
Gemma is the Founder and driving force behind St Jude’s and set up the school in 2002. She loves her family including her husband, Richard Sisia, and their four children Nathaniel, Jacob, Isabella and Louisa.
Gemma was the only daughter of Sue and Basil Rice and was raised alongside seven brothers on a fine wool sheep station outside of Armidale in the New England Tablelands.
At 22 years of age, Gemma set off to Africa to teach maths, science and sewing to girls in Kalangu, a rural village in the middle of Uganda. While in East Africa, she saw how children, families and communities were crippled by a lack of education. Later, her father-in-law, gave her land on which to build her school in Arusha, Tanzania. The school started in 2002 with three students, and today has grown to provide an education to over 1,800 of the poorest children from the local region. It includes two boarding facilities and employs 280 local Tanzanian staff including academic leadership and their teams, ensuring a sustainable and self-determining future for St Jude.
Gemma and St Jude’s supporters have tirelessly fundraised so the school can provide a quality education to the poorest of the poor. Gemma’s mottos are to fight poverty through education and that education is a right not a privilege.
In 2000, Gemma was awarded a Sapphire Paul Harris by Rotary International. In 2012, Gemma was named one of The Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 100 Women of Influence.