Carrollton runner Iddah Wangondu saw how profoundly education shaped her life. She was born and raised in Kenya and attended college there before earning her MBA at UT-Dallas. She has worked her way up into management at Alliance Data.
Wangondu, 40, spends her spare time and disposable income helping low-income Kenyan boys and girls attend high school. Otherwise, she said, most wouldn’t finish the equivalent of middle school because public high school isn’t free in Kenya.
She started a charity 5K in 2016 to raise funds and awareness for MUWA, which means “Seed of Hope.”
“5K race events bring people together for good causes,” she said. “It’s a manageable distance for social runners and serious runners. Most parents would [participate] with their kids vs. a dinner fundraiser.”
MUWA’s mission is to end hopelessness by “turning hope into reality” for disadvantaged Kenyan youth. Wangondu’s small but growing non-profit has helped 23 kids attend high school, three of whom are now in or have finished college. In addition to funding, MUWA mentors the kids to keep them focused on their future.
“It is rewarding to see that we have changed their lives,” Wangondu said of the three collegians. “All these kids are first generation to graduate high school. Their mothers never finished what you call middle school. Having them go to college: That’s an accomplishment.”
Saturday’s third MUWA Foundation 5K/1-mile fun race will start and finish at Frisco Square, 5500 Frisco Square Blvd. More than 300 runners are expected.
Wangondu has partnered with Jimmy Hart and his team at Frisco Running Company every year. This year, she hired Hart’s team to time officially time the race.
In addition, local runner Jeff Horton has shared his running expertise to help the cause. When he saw MUWA was holding its inaugural event at a park where he ran, he offered to help. In the process, he learned about the cause and continues to assist.
“Kenyan distance runners have long dominated the longer events,” he said. “That made it even more attractive to me to be able to give back to help the kids from that country, whose athletes have given so much to the sport.”
For more information about MUWA and Saturday’s the race, visit muwafoundation.org.
-Source: Dallas Morning News