Factoid: Arusha was dubbed as "the Geneva of Africa" by Bill Clinton during a Presidential visit. --Though poverty still exists side-by-side those living a more prosperous lifestyle.
Arusha is the symbolic capital of the Eastern Africa Coalition. It is also where the UN Tribunal for the Rwandan Genocide is based, plus home to many diplomats and UN workers.
Additionally, Arusha is the base for many safari tours traveling to renowned national parks like Serengeti and Kilimanjaro.
Project Managers: Mario Bellaviti and Sandra Bellaviti
Miles for Smiles (MFS) originated in Italy, with the Bellavitis working to bring assistance and relief in what was formerly Yugoslavia.
In 1999, Project Managers Mario and Sandra Bellaviti relocated to Arusha, Tanzania, where they have dedicated their time and resources to providing various humanitarian as well as educational services and programs.
Initial projects included running the “Silver Mountain Learning Center”—an international early learning school—for over five years. Teacher training seminars were conducted regularly for elementary school teachers from cities and villages across the country. Other programs included support for a leper colony, assistance for a shelter for homeless teenagers, and translation of educational materials into Swahili.
In 2005 MFS focused its efforts on establishing the “Urafiki” or “Friendship” Center—a centrally-located facility providing basic food supplies, educational programs, vocational skills training and a warm and supportive environment for orphans and destitute families in the surrounding community.
MFS’s current activities are centered on the following key programs:
- The Urafiki Center with development programs for children and youth
- Humanitarian assistance for the elderly and impoverished rural communities
- Parenting workshops and Christian orientation studies