What we do:
Smiles Uganda primarily provides scholarships and support to 45 children 5-19 years old in Uganda
through the Smiles Education Scholarship Program. This project has been running since 2010 and helps children who have family or financial hardship. Most are orphans as many of their parents have died of AIDS. Smiles Uganda is funded by donations and local fundraising events in Canada, England and Uganda. So far $85,000 has been raised towards our cause. Last year we had our first success story as our first graduate enrolled in civil engineering school!
Scholarships are provided primarily to cover or contribute to:
- School fees in primary and senior school
- Boarding fees for children whose circumstance require that they board at school
- Living expenses for children facing exceptional circumstances
Scholarships are conditional upon:
- The child and his/her situation being known to a member of the Smiles team in Uganda
- Annual review of the academic standing of each child
- Annual review of the circumstances of each child supported in the program
- All students go to various schools in Kampala, Uganda
Our guiding principle for our cause and charity is rooted in this quote by HH the Aga Khan: “There are those who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both means and the motivation to improve their circumstances. Unless they can be touched with the spark which ignites the spirit of individual enterprise and determination, they will only sink into apathy, degradation and despair. It is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that spark.”
Galib Kara, Director, Smiles Uganda writes: “Uganda will always be considered home to me. While living there from 1994-2004, I had the privilege of meeting many Ugandan children. I was amazed at was how spirited the children were, despite the poverty and despair they were living in, they always seemed hopeful and encouraged by everything and everyone around them. After leaving Africa in 2004, I always knew that somehow I would need to find a way to give back to those children and fulfill on the hope they felt, and the optimism they saw for their future. I was inspired by an event a friend of mine named, Katherine Tucker, who ran a ‘Smiles’ event in London to provide surgeries for Ugandan children. I immediately reached out for support from some amazing, talented and generous individuals I know; my sister in law Azmina Kara, Jorge Martinez, Rodney Schuster, Ann Fieldsend, Tanya Souter, Rayna Scott, Alexis Mills, Andi Mortenson, Salim Sayani, Sophia Sayani, Naju Lalji, Zahid Wissanji, Zain Rasul, Asif and Aliya Kara. Our collective mission was to further youth education in Uganda and so the “Smiles” chapter in Vancouver was born.”
Smiles organizing Team Canada: Alexis Mills, Ann Fieldsend, Rayna Scott, Tanya Souter, Galib Kara, Azmina Kara. Promotional materials designer Andi Mortenson.
Smiles organizing Team UK: Khalid Virani, Nabila Virani, Rose UK Board, Farah Williamson.
Smiles Organizing Team Uganda: Zahid Wassanji, Rodney Shuster, Aly Allibhai, Allison Porteus, Sarah Olol, Nadia Beghani.