Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blade Runner St Jude

There is something surreal about the School of St Jude. In some ways it seems entirely familiar – kindy classes wear lion masks and present little plays; older classes go on excursions to worthwhile places. But then, something odd shows up in the school newsletter, like the wrong answer to a question in Blade Runner and you realise that this school cannot be quite like the schools we are familiar with.

  • How many schools do you know that have 15,000 kids lined up at the gates on Fridays in October, seeking to win a place in the school?
  • How many schools in your area have a sewing lady who spends each day mending and repairing the clothes of the kids?
  • What schools do you know that take only one child per family?
  • And how many schools offer free lunches – OK, we know that British schools do cheap lunches, but that is the land of Monty Python and Harry Potter afterall. And Jamie Oliver has shown us how bad the ‘food’ is.
The School of St Jude is for the poorest of the poor. Children who come from homes with more than two rooms, or houses with floors or window glass are not eligible. This school is for people who are REALLY poor. Nevertheless, the school encourages the children to be generous and giving.

Each year the school celebrates the Feast Day of St Jude Thaddeus (28th October).

Father Julio presides over a great celebration where each class gives a presentation. Then there is communion for those who are Catholic and blessings for those of other faiths.

Communion and blessings

During the service while Fr Julio was giving communion to the confirmed Catholics and the staff choir sang, he asked a number of teachers from various religions, tribes and countries to bless all the other students. It is a wonderfully uniting part of the service and again we thank Fr Julio for bringing everyone together so superbly.

A key element of the day is that each child brings a gift to be given to those in need in nearby orphanages and hospitals.

Although the children in this school come from very poor families, sometimes having only one meal a day and sleeping three to a bed, I feel that they need to understand how important it is to give to others. At our St Jude’s Day celebration, every student is asked to bring a gift to say thanks for all that they have to be grateful - their families, their friends, their teachers, their sponsors, the school’s donors, the cooks and cleaners, the drivers, the administration staff, the groundsmen and the guards. Every person in every section is a vital cog in The School of St Jude machine. So it is on this day that the children get the chance to show their gratitude.

Gifts from grateful families

Here are some of masses of gifts given by students’ families – the baskets were over flowing with sugar, soap, eggs, vegetables, fruit, cloth, salt, flour, rice and even live chickens. After the school community celebration, students took the gifts to local orphanages and hospitals.

Children distribute gifts in local hospital

The School of St Jude aims to fight poverty through education. It does this in a material way by providing excellent education to the poorest children. It also teaches that a generous spirit does not require material wealth.

May your generous spirit move you to lend your support to the School of St Jude.

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