Nonprofit “Miles for Smiles Africa” to hold 5K Sept. 21


Photo provided by Safiya Adatia

Students at New Dawn Education Center in Nairobi, Kenya sit in rows as their teacher begins class. They all have uniforms which is included in tuition costs.

Miles for Smiles Africa, a nonprofit organization founded by Uplift North Hills Preparatory School junior Safiya Adatia, is holding a 5K walk/run at Sam Houston Trail Park in Irving on Sept. 21 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to raise money for children to attend the New Dawn Education Center in Nairobi, Kenya.

The cost for tuition at New Dawn is $680 per year, which includes uniforms and two meals each day. Adatia is hoping to send 15 African students to school for this upcoming year through ticket sales for the event. Tickets are $25 each.

Due to difficult living conditions, it is common for students in Kenya to drop out of school. Within the past three years, drop-out rates have increased by 40%. 

“Their families make less than $ 2 per day, on average,” Adatia said. “Many of the students are forced to drop out because they don’t have money and they have to use that for other things like food.”

Many Hebron High School students are planning on attending the event. Many people at Hebron found out about the event through Adatia’s social media profiles.

“I’m most excited to see the turn out and all of the different people that show up to the event,” said sophomore Carissa Merchant. “I’m also excited to see how all these different people come together to support one cause.”

Activities at the event include face painting and a Bhangra (energetic Indian dance) class, and recreational activities like football, volleyball and the running trail. Food will be provided. There will be an awards ceremony after the 5K race: first place will get Dallas Mavericks tickets, second place will get a free massage and third place will get a restaurant gift card.

Adatia was inspired to start the nonprofit after visiting Kenya, her father’s birthplace. Her trip included going to the New Dawn Education Center which is a school that is not government supported. 

“I just saw the conditions that they go to school and live in and it’s terrible,” Adatia said. “They don’t have sturdy schools like we do here and it was really crazy to think that people in this world have to go to school in those conditions.”

Adatia’s friends have helped her in preparing for the run. They have said that she has grown from the experience of founding a nonprofit.

“I have seen Safiya grow throughout this entire process,” Hebron junior Vaneeza Moloo said. “She is such a strong, hard worker and is doing admirable work. The cause is amazing and I’m so proud of her.”

Adatia said balancing school and a nonprofit can be challenging, and she does not have time for much else.

“Part of it was not knowing how to do this and just going in head first,” Adatia said. “The average person doesn’t know how to plan a whole event for a bunch of people, so experiencing that was extremely challenging with school. Of course it’s been a hard balance because they both take so much of my time, but it’s fun. It’s something I look forward to.”