Special Report

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Oradea, Romania registered Charity No.14839712

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Adi Matis – Smiles Romania Assistant Director   October 2015

After summer ...

The most important event this past month was of course the school starting again. We have well over 250 children across Smiles Projects that are back to school now and all of them need our support, one way or another. We believe strongly that education will make a difference in their lives, for now and especially for the future. Another important thing is that all of our projects are now going through an assessment and analysis, to see what can be improved, what families or individuals need to be encouraged to move on and what new people are in need for our support. Also, there is a lot of administrative work that needs to be done – getting the licences from the authorities for our projects to be approved to operate is always a very tedious and long process and the project managers are certainly busy with paperwork!

So, the summer time is now over, school holidays finished and children are back to school. The busy mission trip season has ended too and most of the Smiles team is now back to more regular work, but with the added responsibility of putting together all the paperwork needed for getting the approval for our services. We also need to go through the entire list of beneficiaries, for making the proper assessments on progress and suitability and need for continued support.

This is never an easy task, as we need to decide, in many different and complicated situations, what is the best next step. We might need to take difficult decisions, but at the same time we know it is in the best interest of our beneficiaries and important for our supporters. We do not achieve much if we make people "addicted" to Smiles support – rather we are trying to help them move on once the support from us has been adequately given, in such a way that they will become independent and they will be able to have a proper life and they will develop as a family or individual into a stronger position than before. Anyway, all of these issues are part of our job and it is part of the progress that we need to see as a result of what we are doing.

So probably today you will not read in my report about the most exciting, interesting and emotional aspects of Smiles work, but I wanted to share with you also this part of our work, which is of course more on the administrative and numbers side.

In the last five years for instance, in the Family Care project, we have taken in approximately sixty new families, this allows for numerous requests to receive a positive answer. We have had many others that could not be addressed, but we tried to respond to the greatest needs in the best way we could. Not only have we taken new families in our programme, but whole communities too. It is the case of course with Cuiesd, Tulca and Rapa Gypsy Communities, alongside "older" contacts in Salard and Tileagd.

It was and still is, very difficult to only say "yes" to one or two families in a village where everything is a huge, screaming need for help! And people are equally poor, equally hungry, children are equally cute but equally sad… But at the same time, we have allowed some to continue their life without our support. For more than 90 families from the Family Care Project alone we stopped the formal support in these past five years, but for many we continued our occasional support, as their situation did not improve as much as was needed. We have had disabled people that needed our help to continue as they cannot survive by themselves. The same thing with many elderly who could not move into our Care Homes and therefore still needed our presence in their own home.

In the Homeless Programme, since its start in October 2011, there were more than 250 families or individuals that we have helped. Given the specifics of the project, many of these people spend a while with us, then move on, and sometimes, they come back again. Not only have we tried to find a long-term solution for them, just as in the Family Care strategy, but we have also helped them with providing very immediate support, with food and shelter. The homeless people are difficult to deal with. Many have no physical belongings with them when they come, but they definitely have huge emotional baggage to contend with. Their behaviour is sometimes anti-social, in many cases we are also facing mental and intellectual challenges with them … But we are happy we could offer them the proper attention and support. Another important group are those living on the streets – a very volatile area of our work, where numbers are going up and down from one day to another. But we’ve helped a lot also in this urgent area of need.

The latest assessments at the Emergency Housing Unit shows that about 45 mothers and their children were supported in the last five years. A tremendous need in Bihor county, for which Smiles provides the only shelter, for a population of about 600,000. The victims of domestic abuse, for whom this project was meant, have little chances to overcome their problem without help and we are happy to know that our intervention, in their time of trouble, is making the difference!

To very briefly mention the school too, as the new school year just begun, in the last years we had many children from various projects that were enrolled in or continued their school programmes in various capacities. Of course the Tileagd School is the major one, but also children and young adults from Gepiu, Salard, Homeless and Family Care projects decided to continue their education. This by itself is a great achievement we believe, because it is the first step to actually do it. The fact that we have got from Salard only 8 or 9 in school or nursery, but also 3 adults that are now following second-chance programmes, it’s a very positive sign that we are very excited about.

Yes, after summer there is a time of assessment and realisation how much Smiles means for people and will continue to make significant differences for as long as we exist. The Calling we have answered to will drive us on and God will continue to provide for it.

Thank you also for your support for Smiles, for the great commitment and generosity!

Many blessings!

Adi Matis

Assistant Director Smiles Romania


Previous reports from Adi:

September 2015 - The Small Things that go a Long Way

August 2015 - Mission Trips with significance

July 2015 - A great way into knowing God

June 2015 - History with a man that is no more

May 2015 - A Story Worth Sharing

March 2015 - Here in Romania, but not only...

February 2015 - New year, new hope and new plans

January 2015 - Management Team Reports

December 2014 - Preparing for the Celebration

November 2014 - A man's true story... an inspiration to us all

October 2014 - Golden September

September 2014 - A Summer of Experiences

August 2014 - Salard Community Reloaded

July 2014 - Sessions for the Mind

June 2014 - Unknown

May 2014 - Celebrate with us

April 2014 - Beliefs

March 2014 - From being taken care of to taking care...

February 2014 - My dream... to become a pig caretaker

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    Page last updated on 29/09/2015 03:02:07 PM
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