African S.M.I.L.E. (Singida Medical Improvements and Learning Environments) is a Christian relief organization started by members Don Etzel of Community of Hope to work in the Singida region of Tanzania. Projects include building medical facilities, supporting the nursing school, providing clean water sources, supporting schools and churches, and building homes for those afflicted with Leprosy. Members of Community of Hope and other volunteers travel to work in Tanzania for 2-8 weeks at a time to help with these projects or to teach in the schools as well as providing financial support for programs. If you have a heart for this kind of work, please join us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to get involved.
Answering a call to help revitalize Iambi Lutheran Hospital, a group of dedicated Christians from the Pacific Northwest travelled to Tanzania in 2003 to spend a month sharing their faith, skills and experiences to help address the needs of the hospital. A year later, this group formally incorporated African S.M.I.L.E. as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and began a concentrated program to promote the principles of Christianity while providing the resources necessary for Iambi Hospital and Nkungi village to become self-sufficient.
In the 9 years since it began sending volunteers to Tanzania over 137 individuals have shared their faith and skills with the people of the Singida region. With each volunteer spending on average from two to four weeks in the region the number of volunteer hours is countless. By raising or covering their own travel expenses they have contributed in excess of $650,000 to the cause. Volunteers with construction experience are charged with training the locals to perform the necessary labor. Medical volunteers work alongside local personnel to treat the sick in the outer villages, while other volunteers help out in the local schools. The primary goal of the volunteers is to share their faith and skills so the people of Singida are able to work towards self-sufficiency.
Through the generosity of the Moris Foundation over $600,000 has been spent directly on materials, supplies, equipment and local labor to further the work of African S.M.I.L.E. With volunteers covering their own travel expenses, all monies raised by African S.M.I.L.E. are spent in Singida for the betterment of their community.
It has been a great joy and blessing for African S.M.I.L.E. to be able to work with the Singida people and accomplish so much in nine years. We give thanks and praise to our gracious Lord for making all of this possible. We thank retired Bishop Sima and his staff for their cooperation and help. We thank Dr. Ngowi and his staff for their overall direction and appreciation for the work completed at Iambi Lutheran Hospital. We are also very grateful for the skills and hard work performed by the nationals hired who have made the projects become a reality. And finally we express our gratitude to those whose generous donations have made this all possible.
Director: African S.M.I.L.E. – TANZANIA
Mike Kitakwa – Mr. Kitakwa comes from a family of business and community leaders in Arusha with family ties to Nkungi. Formally trained as a veterinarian, he has become known as the “jack of all trades” to several missionary groups working in Nkungi and the Singida region and has been instrumental in helping the groups achieve their goals. Mr. Kitakwa and his wife live in the neighboring community of Arusha.
To donate to help African S.M.I.L.E. visit our Community of Hope online giving page HERE. Be sure to select DF (designated fund) 327 for African S.M.I.L.E. You can also mail a check to Community of Hope and put “African SMILE” in the memo line.
Address: Community of Hope, PO Box 98, Wilsonville, OR 97070
Click below for videos of African S.M.I.L.E:
- African S.M.I.L.E. introduction
- 2018 African S.M.I.L.E. update
- 2016 African S.M.I.L.E. update
- 2014 African S.M.I.L.E. update
- 2013 African S.M.I.L.E. update
- 2011 African S.M.I.L.E. update
- 2010 African S.M.I.L.E. update