In June 2007, Dr Claudia Micula – The Smiles Foundation’s doctor to the Family Care Project at the time – was visiting a sponsored family in the city of Oradea when approached by a desperate lady asking for help. The lady’s sister – married with 12 children – had just experienced the horror of a house fire that destroyed the house and claimed the life of their 5 year old daughter. The family were now dispersed, with ones and twos staying in various homes with friends and the parents with some of the children sleeping on a mattress in the field beside their burnt out house.
The Smiles Foundation visited the scene and met with the family and were shocked at what we saw. A small Community of 19 families living in horrendously poor conditions and whilst it was reasonable to say that the family who’s house had burnt down were worse off – it was a case of ‘only just’!
Some of the housing in this community was as bad as our Chief Executive had seen in 26 years of visiting Romania. The Smiles Foundation immediately committed to building a new house for the family that had suffered the fire. During the course of building, we heard the stories of all the other families and wanted to see what we could do to help.
These situations face the Smiles Team daily but our CEO felt in this case – We Should, We Could and We Would do something!
We have since added families from Salard to our regular support as sponsors have become available. We also started to re-house families, through a housing project which in the first year built 3 new homes for families with special needs in and around the community.
Then we launched the Container Challenge and have purchased, renovated and fitted out eight 6 metre (20ft) containers which are now better homes than they have ever known in Salard. Perhaps most important is the Containers are rodent proof!
From 2017, overseeing the project in Salard is Raul Gherle who has been with Smiles since 2011 managing the Homeless Project. He is supported by Social Assistant – Ioana Pop.
The people of Salard are extremely poor and face many difficulties as a result. Without help, they will make no progress as it is impossible for them to even get on the first run of the ladder from their seriously impoverished position. Smiles want to do more and will do more as sponsors and support becomes available. If you can help, please consider sponsoring a family now or contribute what you can each month towards the Food, Medical or Housing support we are offering the Salard Community.
Please help with supporting our Operating Costs which are £420 / $550 per month.