As a child, Nizam Ally, readily adapted to his surroundings and was quick on his feet. He oftentimes helped his father gather the day’s bounty and load them in their donkey cart so he can haul the fresh produce to the market. He was always been very enterprising and saw opportunities that arise from challenges. Such challenges that involve being able to eat three square meals a day, to get dressed in decent clothing and having a roof above one’s head.

Nizam has always been very diligent and steadfast with his work. The eldest among his siblings, he has been leading them by example in being resourceful and industrious. His parents have been saving money for them to purchase a single plane ticket to Canada, a chance for a dreamer like Nizam to venture to greener pastures in a foreign land.

Inspired by the kindness and support of his family back in Guyana, Nizam took several odd jobs to make ends meet. He started working at various factories and restaurants. It is at the restaurant where he found his calling. As a dishwasher and slowly worked his way up to a waiter. As he rose the ranks in the kitchen, he started bringing members of his family to Canada. Nizam acted like a father to them and looked after their needs. All the toils of hard work were worth seeing his family reunited.

A thriving Caribbean community made it possible for Nizam to explore new business ventures. As a toast to his roots, he opened Tropical Nights Restaurant at Victoria Park and Danforth, Scarborough. Colorful, vibrant and exciting, Tropical Nights Restaurant offers down-home cooking from the Islands. Most of his employees are members of his community and through his recent success has provided them not only with employment but also camaraderie and friendship. The restaurant provided him with a meeting place for Guyanese and Caribbean immigrants in a place that reminds them of home.
Nizam is well loved in his community and has been an ardent supporter of smooth Caribbean relations. He has been particularly touched by children, most of them exposed to the hardships early on their lives. Nizam has sponsored two children from World Vision Canada, a children’s charity. He has also been actively developing projects and programs for children and the youth through sponsoring basketball games, having charity cook-offs and mainly, through everyday interaction.

The tsunami of 2004 affected Nizam deeply. After seeing thousands of children suffering from the ravages of disaster, he approached a group of like-minded individuals, who believed that reaching out to the children at their most vulnerable state would require their immediate attention. A group consensus was reached and thus, the Walk 5-5-55 Charitable Foundation was born. The charity was conceived on Nizam’s goal of walking all the way to NewYork City on his 50th birthday (May 5, 2005) and heading back to Toronto to raise funds for needy children. Inspired from overcoming his childhood struggles, Nizam dedicates every mile he walks for the cause of impoverished children and youth, and gains their immeasurable smiles in return.

The first run of the 2005-Miles for Smiles charity fundraiser was successful and highly anticipated in his community. Nizam worked very hard in getting his message across and has racked over a thousand miles and hours of walking in harsh weather. His homecoming was celebrated at the Oakridge Park in Scarborough, where concerned members of his community and families, whom he has been helping through the years, cheered him on. This summer, he has decided to walk back to New York City for the second summer run. He hopes to bring his message of hope and concern to a wider variety of audiences and would seek to inspire them to take a course of action and reach out to them at their weakest point.
In his second run, the Foundation launched a newly improved pledging system that would account for having organized walks and scheduled visits to key areas in the US and Canada. Walkers were mostly families and most notably, children and the youth. The second run also marked the beginning of organizing community teams, led by a community designate, who have been steadfastly following Nizam’s progress and actively been seeking pledges in behalf of the Foundation.

On September 3, 2005, Nizam will reach his New York City destination at the Rockefeller Centre (49th and 5th). Nizam would be available for an exclusive meet and greet session with concerned citizens and members of the community. There is also a unique interview and photo opportunity for media who cover the event. At the session, Nizam would provide us an update of the Walk, what continues to inspire him and his call for action to help children and youth in need. The session starts at 2pm and ends at 4pm.

“I have already walked over two thousand miles in my travel and will continue to walk thousands more during this year,” said Nizam. “I owe a great deal to the Foundation, if not, my life.” Men like Nizam have chosen to stand up and lead by example by continuously inspiring us to achieve greatness in one’s own calling. Men like Nizam are beacons of light to their families. They are the same men that once a dream is realized, they never stop working to get there. Nizam is a man who helps save future generations of children and youth from the risk of losing hope, hope that one day one can be an “everyday hero” who can change his own destiny.

To support Nizam and the Walk 5-5-55 Charitable Foundation, visit our website, www.walk5-5-55.com. You can also reach us toll-free at 1-866-359-WALK.