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Romania 2014 Rachael Fittro
Summary of mission trip • “The SMILES foundation seeks to remove poverty, promote education and provide hope and opportunity for many of the most vulnerable in society through a variety of projects.” • They work with the Roma people, who call themselves gypsies, the elderly, homeless and children. • The government refuses to acknowledge the homeless or gypsies, because of their lack of documentation, which means that getting treatment at hospitals is difficult, and getting a job is next to impossible. • They have projects ranging throughout the county of Bihor in Romania, which will shortly be explained…
Tileagd • The SMILES foundation have created a full community in the gypsy village of Tileagd. • This includes a school, church, nursery and medical centre. • The school is made up of all children who are equals, making no separation between the Roma children and Romanian children. • This has made a great impact on Tileagd and the surrounding towns.
Tileagd • Our team spent church with the people of Tileagd. • The people of Tileagd are genuine, God-fearing people. • There have been multiple baptisms every year since 2010 in Tileagd and a couple more are planned for this autumn!
Homeless Project • The SMILES Foundation work throughout the Bihor county to provide hope to the homeless. • They have built temporary homes out of shipping containers, providing a place for people to stay whilst they are looking for a job or a new home. • The sheer joy on the their faces was immense!
Homeless Project • They provide food for those who are deprived, both on the streets, and in under-privileged homes, making regular home visits. • Visiting the Homeless Project made me realise the huge contrast between what we take for granted each day, and what people on the streets can only wish for, for example; • Central heating • A warm bed • Plenty of food and water • Friends and family • Education
The Glasshouse/farm • SMILES built a glasshouse on a farm that grows a mixture of vegetables and flowers depending on the season. • The farm grows crops such as corn and also raises pigs and cows. • These projects have become self-sufficient through selling and trading the produce that they make. • Through this they are able to fund other projects and recruit local Romanians, providing jobs and resources.
Holiday Bible Club • We went to a village called Rapa to do a Holiday Bible Club with the children and parents in the village. • There is no running water, and the houses are made of mud huts, therefore are falling apart. • The government will not help the gypsies because they don’t acknowledge them, and want them to leave the property.
Holiday Bible Club • Many girls are married off for family business deal, at very young age, like the girl on the next slide, who is 16 yrs old and already married with 2 young children. • We sang songs, taught Bible stories, and played games. • This was just as meaningful to the children as it was to the parents, as many of them have lost their childhood. • What struck me about this wonderful group was how excited the parents were, and how much joy SMILES brings to them. • When I realised that many were my age or younger, it made me see how privileged I am to have had such a youthful and fun childhood, which many women wouldn’t get.
Salarde • There is a community in Salarde, a village in the Bihor county, made up of Hungarian gypsies. • They are all of the people that have been rejected from their social groups, therefore have made up one themselves. • There is no leader in the community, therefore, before SMILES entered Salarde, there was no order or civilisation. • SMILES started working in Salarde 7 years ago.
Salarde • Now, 7 years later, there is social order, and SMILES are respected as leaders. • Whereas before, the children and adults would not listen to anyone, we were able to witness the children waiting patiently for their food, and the adults respectfully allowing everyone to go ahead of them. • This really spoke to me personally, because it showed just how much of an impact the work in Romania can have, and made me desperately want to come back so I can see more progress! • There are also container houses in progress of being put in Salarde, so the people no longer have to live in mud huts that are falling apart and full of animal and human waste.
Elderly and Disability Centre • SMILES built a custom-made elderly care home. • They are now in the process of building a disability centre for children as a day care, and adults as full-time residents. • They hope to be completed with it by September this year, but are waiting for more funding and building.
Elderly and Disability Centre • SMILES house elderly people who are alone or rejected from family for free. • I was able to spend a day with the residents and they all expressed how thankful they are for SMILES, because they are all extremely happy. • Many of the residences have become Christian while being there, and warmed my heart with their love
Thank you! • Thank you so much for your support! • Without the money that you provided me for our group, we would not have raised enough money to make the impact that we did. • We were able to use some of the extra money to put towards a bike that a young girl needs to get to work. • I am hoping that one day I will be able to go back and see the progress, but also to help more. • I hope that this made as much of an impact for you as it did for me.