History of Smiles, 1997 - 2007
to make a Smile -
Developed to make an Impact!
In 1990 – just
months after the fall of Ceausescu in Romania – the Smiles
Foundation’s founders, Kevin Hoy and Nia Jones visited State
orphanages in several major cities of Romania. Of the thousands of
children seen, one common observation was noted with them all – a
total lack of Smiles.
Founders Hoy and Jones vowed to return to Romania to make a Smile
appear on the faces of children and parents struggling for life within
this impoverished nation.
After several years of regular visits to Romania, supported by many
from the UK and America who were providing significant ‘aid’ for
distribution and funding for several ongoing projects, Kevin and Nia
decided to establish an official Charity - The Smiles Foundation.
They and an army of like-minded people began the work to help bring
Smiles, once again to the Romanian people.
Established in 1997, first as a ‘charitable club’, the Smiles Club
subsequently became a fully approved Charity in the United Kingdom,
America and then Romania itself.
The Charity seeks to relieve poverty, promote education and provide
hope & opportunity for many through a variety of projects which
include Evangelistic Outreach, Food Distribution, Medical Support,
Social Assistance, Education, Child Care, Life Skills Training and
2006 was a significant year of completing several major project
The Cihei Children’s Centre providing love and care for Abandoned,
Neglected and Abused children aged birth through 6 years and an
Emergency Housing Unit in Mirlou (providing shelter for evicted
families and safety for victims of domestic abuse). We also finished
building a new Children’s Centre in Gepiu which includes a Day Centre
providing education, training in life-skills and outreach to young
people, often unable to attend school or need help with homework as
parents are unable to assist.
In Tileagd, phase 1 of building the community complex incorporating a
new School for up to 250 children was completed. In 2007, phase 2 will
begin incorporating a Medical Clinic and a Community Centre/Gymnasium
for sports, social and cultural activities. This will also be the site
of the Charity’s first Church Build – anticipated to open early 2008.
In the medium term, within 3 years, the Foundation plans to build at
our Cihei site, an Assisted Living facility and Nursing home for the
Elderly plus a new Centre for Disabled Children. Also, within the Boga
Mountains, land has
with a view to building a Mountain retreat Centre. No shortage of
ideas for an ever expanding Smiles.
The Smiles Foundation – its Board of Trustees and thousands of
supporters around the world are motivated by a strong Christian faith
and its teachings to help the poor and look after widows and orphans.
Today the Foundation has a Family Care project that delivers Food
boxes each and every month to an average of 200 families. This is the
cornerstone of the Foundation’s work. The Foundation has built,
equipped and operates many facilities and projects including the Tileagd Community School, which includes many Gypsy children, often
experiencing education for the first time in their lives.
The Foundation has on staff 2 qualified medical Doctors, who daily
meet the medical needs of those families in our Family Care project
plus the children in the school and other projects in Oradea, Tileagd,
Gepiu and Mirlou.
The Social programme provides assistance for families to be properly
registered with the authorities and know the options of support
available to them. The Foundation also seeks to help with employment
opportunities for those physically and mentally capable of work.
The Housing project has met a desperate need for many families who
have seen the economic pressures of life in Romania get on top of
them. Many, having been evicted, find refuge and security in one of
the 28 residential houses owned by the Foundation, provided free for
families otherwise facing life on the streets.
The Foundation uses the significant funds donated to its work as an
investment in the people of Romania for whom the government cannot
assist until it builds a strong infrastructure that can then, from a
position of strength and wealth, better support the weak and poor.
With nearly a million pounds (sterling) – 2 million US dollars
invested in the current year, the Smiles Foundation is proving to be a
Charity of significance – operating professionally under strong
leadership and oversight from Europe and America and yet promoting the
growth and responsibility within the Romanian people. Smiles policy in
Romania only employs Romanian nationals. All UK & US support staff are
self-funded and receive no income from Smiles donated funds. This
year, Smiles employed Romanian staff reached 73 through all
departments and projects detailed on this site.
The Smiles Foundation may be a comparatively lesser known Charity on
the International stage, but for the 1300+ people, among the poorest
of Romania, already benefiting from its daily work– Smiles is a
Success is seen daily in its work through a variety of standards and
assessments, both externally and within the Foundation. However, in
addition to people eating regularly, having a roof over their head,
medical provision when sick, social assistance when in need – poor
people through the Smiles Team in Romania have a friend they can rely
on and that makes them Smile – that’s our Success.
Updated: March 2007
By: Kevin D. Hoy
The Smiles Foundation
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