School of St Jude founder Gemma Sisia has started her month-long Australian tour on a high note by attracting almost 180 people to a special breakfast on Saturday morning. Ms Sisia arrived in Australia on Friday and said she literally jumped in a car and drove to Forbes for a public speaking engagement with Rotary at Gooloogong that evening. But it was Saturday morning’s breakfast which brought the surprise audience, with almost 180 people turning up to the Forbes Services Club to hear her tale. The former Guyra girl grew up on a sheep farm before heading to Africa in her early 20s. Mrs Sisia said it was the infallibility of youth or stupidity and naivety which saw her establish the School of St Jude in Tanzania 10 years ago. “When I worked [in Africa] I loved it but I thought ‘Why isn’t there a private school that is free of charge?’ I thought ‘Why hasn’t it been done yet?’,” she said. Reflecting on the growth of the school over the last 10 years Mrs Sisia admitted it has been “bloody hard”. Forbes marked the start of her month-long annual tour of Australia which aims to raise awareness of the school. Because she has a husband and children back in Tanzania, Mrs Sisia said she can only stay the month, but tries to fit as much as she can in during that time – usually conducting four or five guest speaking appearances in each day. The School of St Jude – named after the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes – operates entirely on donations and sponsorship. “I find that regional Australia has basically built St Jude’s,” she said. “If I wasn’t married with children I’d just live in a car and tour regional Australia.” Mrs Sisia said school at St Jude was not like that in the west because it operates inside the Tanzanian culture. However, unlike other African schools, St Jude’s has smaller class sizes – around 25 children as opposed to 100 – trained teachers, ample chalk and a variety of subjects. During her presentation Mrs Sisia spoke of the “over crowded and under resourced” government schools in Africa, how the School of St Jude started and its development from three students to 1650 today. The major supporter of the school is Rotary International. Mrs Sisia said she had no idea of the scope of Rotary when she was first introduced to various clubs during her pre-Africa fund-raising presentations. “Without Rotary this school wouldn’t exist,” she said. President of the Rotary Club of Forbes Ipomoea Helen Pitt said they were delighted and overwhelmed with the response to the breakfast. “I was just blown away. People are saying that it was just an amazing meeting.&nbsp; “She [Gemma Sisia] was inspirational. She was very easy to listen to,” Mrs Pitt said. Mrs Pitt said Ms Sisia was invited to visit Forbes after their trip to the school in October last year. Proceeds from a raffle held during the morning and part proceeds from the ticket prices raised $3000 for the School of St Jude.