Former Echuca resident Emily Umbers has been volunteering at The School of St Jude in northern Tanzania.By Monique Preston
Former Echuca resident Emily Umbers gave up the familiar comforts of home last year to volunteer at a school in Tanzania.
A former marketing manager at Anglicare Victoria, Miss Umbers has been volunteering in the role of marketing manager at The School of St Jude in the northern Tanzania town of Arusha since May.
‘‘A friend of mine volunteered at St Jude’s in 2009 and had a really amazing experience,’’ Miss Umbers said.
‘‘I was looking for some sort of change in my life and thought that I would take a hiatus from Australia for three months and she suggested St Jude’s to me.
‘‘Three months soon turned into one year, and I have just extended my contract for another eight months.’’
In her role volunteering at St Jude’s, Miss Umbers oversees the marketing team which includes media, web management, design and tours for the school’s founder.
The marketing team supports the fundraising efforts of St Jude’s and spreads the word about the school.
Miss Umbers said the sense of community in Tanzania was amazing.
‘‘The whole notion of it takes a village to raise a child is so evident, you see it every day and in so many different situations,’’ she said.
‘‘The people are so beautiful and constantly surprise me with their resilience and tolerance.’’
When asked about her fondest moment so far, Miss Umbers said it was hard to pick one, however, having her parents Ken and Clare Umbers visit from Echuca was among them.
‘‘Having mum and dad come over from Echuca was such a special time,’’ she said.
‘‘They spent three weeks at St Jude’s. During their last week we went to the home of one of our grade 2 St Jude’s students.
‘‘Esta’s story was amazing and her mother Rebecca welcomed us into their very small home.
‘‘As a result of this home visit a very special bond has now been established with Mum and Dad and Esta’s family, which we know will continue forever.’’
The School of St Jude was founded by Australian woman, Gemma Sisia, with the goal of educating the most underprivileged children to break the cycle of poverty.
St Jude’s opened in 2002 with only three students and one teacher, and is now one of Africa’s largest charity funded schools, providing a free education to over 1600 students.
‘‘I am so proud of what we have achieved at The School of St Jude in the past 10 years,’’ Ms Sisia said.
‘‘The school is supported 100 per cent by the generosity of our sponsors and donors around the world, as well as from the team on the ground, which includes more than 400 local Tanzanian staff and volunteers like Emily who travel from around the world to dedicate their time and skills to our cause.’’
A fundraising movie night for St Jude’s will be held at the Paramount Cinemas on March 28 at 6.30pm where Miss Umbers will speak about her time in Tanzania.
The movie, The Croods will be shown.
For information or to book tickets, contact Clare Umbers on 0458
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