The Smiles Foundation’s work in Rapa began through the Family Care project supporting the families living in extreme poverty. Living without running water, sanitation or electricity, life was far from acceptable but with crumbling mud-brick, rat-infested homes – Smiles was challenged to undertake a major investment programme aimed at transforming this impoverished community.
We started with visiting the community on a regular basis to build a relationship of trust and bring them the essentials of life – Food, Medicine and Social support. To avoid continuing the viscous circle this community had lived with for generations, we considered the option of connecting water and electricity to the village and then building a Hygiene Facility of toilets, showers and wash basins – followed by new houses for each of the families in the community.
An anticipated capital cost of £105,000 ($157,500), plus the monthly support programme, for which sponsorship options are available to assist each family in the community.
The response to support this initiative was tremendous, especially from those who visited Rapa as part of a Mission Trip. People left the village wanting to make a difference in the lives of each family and especially the children.
The work began in 2014 as planned with the Hygiene Unit. This was completed the following year and the first three family houses were constructed with an emotional handing over the keys ceremony at Christmas 2015.
In spring of 2016, work began on the remaining 8 houses and in June it was decided to complete our infrastructure development in Rapa – Smiles would build a Church for the small community and plan to open it October 2016.
As a result of amazing support from donors around the world, everything was complete and the Church went ahead and opened on October 9th , 2016 in the midst of a Baptismal Service Celebration when another 7 community members were baptised, joining the 11 who were baptised in an open-air service, in the community on June 12th 2016.
Considerable transformations have taken place in Rapa in less than 3 years, the most significant being the 18 lives transformed through Baptism and Belief in Christ. However, the other transformations with Hygiene Facilities and new Homes has given this community Hope and Belief in a better future.
Now we hope to start a literacy programme in 2017 to help adults and children learn to read and write. This will be the next step to helping this community integrate better in society and prepare themselves for work and the opportunity to give their families better options for the future.
Thank you to the many who have helped us with these transformations. If you can help us maintain the support and programmes in Rapa – please do so now.
The basic Project Operating Costs in Rapa average £920 / $1,200 per month.