Posted by Catherine Njuguna on Mar 08, 2019

Meet our March Inspiration: Sebastian Cox, a young teacher who flew all the way from Australia to organise the 2019 Interact RYLA and Bootcamp all over Tanzania. 

All the way from Australia, how did you end up in Arusha at the school of St Jude’s? 

The School of St Jude’s is a charity funded school, which provides free education to 1800 children in the Arusha Region, Tanzania. For many years, the school has been supported by many Rotary Clubs from Australia. My family has been sponsoring students at the school for over ten years. In 2013, I traveled with my family to Arusha to visit the school. It was when I was at the school that I learnt more about Rotary and the good it does in the world. A few months after this visit, I joined the Rotaract Club of the University of Canberra and my Rotary journey begun. After being a Rotaractor for two years in Australia, St Jude’s asked me to move to Arusha to start an Interact and a Rotaract Club at the school. 

You must love working with young people. Why is that?

In my final years of high school, I started working in the early childhood industry. It was here that I discovered my love of working with young people. I enjoy their endless energy and imagination. When you support them to make their dreams become a reality, it's very special. 

 

What are some of the highlights in your stay at the school of St Jude’s?

I had so many highlight during my two years in Tanzania. During PDG Jayesh's year I worked closely with him in forming the first Earlyact (Rotary Clubs for primary schools) clubs in Tanzania. I have had headmasters in these schools tell me that these clubs have transformed their student's attitudes towards giving and being compassionate. 

Another highlight was running a Rotary Vijana Poa project with the Rotaract Club of St Jude's. We trained and mentored 12 young people from Arusha. It was so successful that Rotary International recognised the project as the best Rotaract project in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Any challenges you experienced?

Every day there was a new challenge to deal with! However, I feel I thrive the best when faced with challenges. The first challenge I was faced with was learning how to run Interact and Rotaract Clubs in Tanzania. I cannot thank the Rotaractors of Tanzania enough for the support and guidance they gave me. 

What did you miss the most after moving back home?

It was tough to move back home and there is so much that I miss. The thing I miss the most is the friends that I made during my time in Tanzania, both inside and outside of Rotary (although most of them are in Rotaract or Rotary now, because I made them join). 

And now you came back and organized a successful RYLA. How did that happen?

Unfinished business! In 2017 I chaired Tanzania's first Under 18 RYLA, which took place in Arusha. The event was successful, but it only involved youth from the Arusha region. The outreach needed to be larger and I wanted to support in making it happen. I spoke to DG Sharmila about coming back to Tanzania during my university holiday to organise a series of Under 18 RYLAs (for non-Interactors) and Interact Boot Camp events in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Bukoba. 

What do you think went well?

Firstly, the Rotary Clubs were amazing in agreeing to sponsor youth to attend (a huge thank you to all of you). The events had a good mix of guest speakers and interactive sessions. We also recorded a Country Interact Song, which will be premiered at the DCA.

What can be improved on in the future?

It will be beneficial to have more Rotarians present at the events to share their knowledge and experience with the youth. I would also like the Interactors to be involved in designing the programs for the events. This will ensure what we are planning meets their interests. 

So, are you still engaged in Rotaract after moving back home to Australia?

Yes, after moving back to Australia I rejoined my old Rotaract Club. However, District 9211 still has a special place in my heart. 

What does the future hold for you? Will you be back to D9211?

I will graduate from university with a Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education in November.  At this stage I don't know what my future holds beyond that, but I hope to return to District 9211 one day. 

Favorite foods in Tanzania and Australia?

Not matter what country I am in, pizza will always be my favourite food. There are many great places to eat pizza in Arusha. I also enjoyed chips mayai.

 

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