Miles for Smiles (MFS) facilitates humanitarian relief efforts in the surrounding impoverished communities and remote tribal regions.
Support for the Elderly
Besides distributing monthly food packages to the families of students enrolled at the Urafiki Center, MFS also reaches out to the elderly living in small shacks or mud huts. They receive regular gifts of food, blankets, floor mats (the only kind of flooring in their huts), and kerosene for lamps.
For several years, MFS has been sponsoring the rent of the oldest woman in the village, Coco, who is said to be well over 100 years old. Coco is always grateful for the support and a friendly visit. Even the children from Urafiki Center take time to visit with her.
Drought and Famine
2011 has seen the onset of a severe drought—said to be the worst in 60 years—affecting the entire East Africa region. Undoubtedly, the drought has had the most significant impact on the poorest and most vulnerable, causing severe food crises and threatening the livelihood of millions of people.
When Mario and Sandra first heard that some of its staff member’s relatives in the Maasai region were facing starvation, they rallied donors and friends and came up with a plan to bring relief to one of the hardest-hit villages. People and cattle were dying as a result of the protracted drought and for the nomadic Maasai tribe where cattle are their most valuable commodity and main food source, the lack of rain was a severe threat to their survival.
After gathering a substantial amount of supplies, MFS took the long and somewhat treacherous trip by truck to bring relief to this Maasai village. Provisions included sugar, tea, beans, rice, oil, flour, soap and fresh bread and vegetables.
The convoy was greeted by smiling villagers, who sang and offered blessings for the bearers of such welcome gifts.
MFS continues to bring ongoing humanitarian relief to drought-stricken villages in a Maasai region of Northern Tanzania.
Support for Rural Institutions
Over the years, Miles for Smiles has made periodic visits to orphanages, rural schools and institutions providing school materials, clothing, shoes, sports equipment and other supplies.