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Gemma Sisia and The School of St. Jude



Coming Up On In The Spirit of Things, Season 2: we talk to Gemma Sisia. Founder of The School of St Jude.


Gemma Sisia spent her early years on a wool sheep property near Guyra in northern New South Wales, Australia. She is the only daughter among the eight children of Sue and Basil Rice.


At 22 years old, Gemma devoted her time to helping the poor in Africa. She decided to travel to Uganda to put her qualifications to good use, volunteering as a teacher in a local school there for three years. This experience fostered a fervent belief that a free, high-quality education should be the right of all children and that education is the strongest weapon in fighting poverty, corruption and political instability.


On returning to Australia, Gemma began fundraising to help underprivileged children in Uganda complete their schooling. Overwhelmed with support and donations, Gemma raised enough money to start an official fund to invest in the education of East Africa’s poorest children.


While working in Uganda, Gemma travelled to neighbouring Tanzania and met Richard Sisia, a safari driver, who later became her husband. Richard’s father Daniel Sisia, a village chairman, gifted the newlyweds a small plot of land that became home to The School of St Jude.

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