Today we feature an interview with Nada Taan Mackie who started a child-centered organization called Smiling Hearts. She is a role model for giving back to the community in which she resides.
1.What is the goal of the Smiling Hearts Foundation and how do you achieve it?
Our goal is to better the lives of the children across Sierra Leone by showing them that they matter and that they are loved. Every child deserves a safe and happy childhood. While we physically give them shoes, school supplies and food provisions what we really want is to create a positive environment and bring them joy and laughter. We always talk about the importance of caring for children and ask them to promise to follow this example and care for children when they become adults. We believe that showing a child love and caring can impact him for the rest of his life and make that child remember the importance of caring for children when he is an adult.
2.Why did you start SHF?
I wanted to do something for the children in the country that I have lived in for a long time. With the help of my husband and few friends, I created the Smiling Hearts Foundation and decided to make a difference in the lives of the children in my community.
3.What challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?
The greatest challenge is finding sustainable funds for the organisation. We use social networking such as Facebook to get the word out there in hopes to find more donors. I am always thinking of creative ways to support our programming. My focus and passion is for children so we have child-centered fundraisers such as a Fun Fair with games and activities. We also get local artists to come and sell their crafts so the parents have some fun, too — and in this way the Fun Fair directly benefits these local artists and craftsmen. Starting and running an organization takes passion, creativity and a lot of dedication. But the rewards of the smiles on the faces of the children we serve are so great it makes every moment worth it.
Thank you Julie for giving me the chance to share my experience with the rest of the world.