Trip of a lifetime

Extreme emotions, rebellion and attitude are behaviours we usually associate with teenagers as they try to assert their independence and find their place in the world.

For most the generational cycle of poverty is not high on their list of priorities but for one Singleton Teen it is an issue.

INSPIRATIONAL TEEN: Singleton’s Fiona Stalker will travel to Tanzania in Africa and take up residence at the School of Saint Jude.

INSPIRATIONAL TEEN: Singleton’s Fiona Stalker will travel to Tanzania in Africa and take up residence at the School of Saint Jude.

An issue she is determined to do something about, starting in Tanzania at the School of Saint Jude.

She knows raising money here in Australia to educate the school’s underprivileged students is the only way to close the gap between the worlds’ developed nation and third world countries.

She will travel to Tanzania in Africa and take up residence at the School of Saint Jude.

Fiona, and other young Australians participating in the trip, will be preparing and teaching lessons, coaching the St Jude students in athletics, delivering the only athletic carnival in Tanzania for the primary school region, trekking to the “roof of Mt Kilimanjaro” with the students, and living with the Maasai tribe of the Kilimanjaro region.

She says as a part of her trip, it is expected that each participant fundraises at least $1000 for the school which goes to sponsor one student through one year of education.

“The money will go to supply books, pens, pencils, paper, three meals a day, clean water and accommodation for a student,” Fiona explains.

And, although she is only expected to raise $1000, the tenacious teen is determined to exceed this expectation.

The mission of the School of St Jude is to educate disadvantaged, bright students from the Arusha District to become moral, and intellectual, leaders in their country.

Poverty in Tanzania is endemic; ranked 204 out of 230 nations in the world for GDP per capita, as a nation it is unable to provide its children with a quality education. 

The government school system is overstretched, under-resourced, and produces poor educational outcomes.

Whereas, St Jude’s provides a free, high-quality education to children who — due to poverty and social pressures — would otherwise be unlikely to complete their schooling.

Drawn from families who often live on less than $1.25 per day, the pupils are shining examples of what students can achieve when they are given the opportunity to receive a quality education.

Fiona explains it is boarding school that takes the poorest of the African boys and girls and provides them with a quality education from year one to a university degree.

“Education is something that most young people take for granted and the school is striving to ‘Fight Poverty through Education’,” she says.

Fiona wants to go on the trip to make a difference and her fundraising goal is $8000.

At the moment, she has raised about $1200 and has come up with an inspirational idea when it comes to achieving her target.

“One of the fundraisers I am currently organising is a colouring-in competition within our local schools,” she explains.

“For just a $2 donation with each entry, those who enter will be judged for the chance to win some great prizes.”

The insightful teen says this will not only assist her to raise funds but also educate the younger generation at the same time.

“We need to plant the seed in the minds of the next generation to break the cycle of poverty,” she asserts.

Fiona says the picture, of two young children in traditional Tanzanian dress, to be coloured in will be 

distributed via school newsletters and will also be available at the Singleton Library.

“From Miniki skate board decks to family movie passes at Majestic Cinemas, there is a great range of prizes on offer for a variety of ages,” she says.

She has also registered with a fundraising website called Go Fundraiser: I am making a difference at  http://makingadifference.gofundraise.com.au/page/StalkerF.