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Luke Wathen

Luke’s News – A Report from the Field

A Hand up, not a hand out

My title sums up the way that projects here at Smiles are run in terms of the end results. Throughout all of them, Family Care, Homeless, Tileagd and Rapa to name just a few, we want to help people by changing their lifestyles not just their immediate circumstances.

Take the Family Care Project, Nelu works with a range of people and communities that are all struggling with day to day needs like having enough food to feed their children or a safe home to live in. Of course, Nelu visits them every month with food, clothes and medical help according to each beneficiaries need, but this is not meant to be a long term solution!

The support the project provides is part of a partnership between Smiles and the families, we will work to help them alongside what they do for themselves. There is a perfect example of this partnership in the Rapa Community!

This is Darius, Daniella and their children, Seby and Rebeca. (Matei and Stephania are not in the picture). They live in one of the new Rapa houses that Smiles built over the past year, but they have not just accepted the help that is offered, they are trying to add to it.

Darius has been working hard in part time construction up until last month when he was hired full-time by the railway in Rapa. This is excellent news as it is a permanent job, in summer and winter and he gets medical and pension contributions. Plus, the fact that the railway company trusted him enough to see beyond the fact he is a Gypsy, is testament to Darius’s work ethic and responsible attitude as it has broken through the racism that Gypsies so often experience.

Of course, the fact that he now has a regular monthly income every month has meant he can save money and provide for his family, consistently too. At this point I need to emphasise that he is doing it which is also commendable, not every person, Gypsy or Romanian, actually use their income responsibly and on their family.
Darius House in Rapa
He has spent money on extending his new home, with an extra room and a bathroom, you can see the front of the extension in the picture above, it continues to the right of the house too. Plus, he has bought a bath, water boiler, fridge/freezer and washing machine. All of these things mean that this lovely family can look after themselves and their children as well as possible.

There is also some wonderful news that Darius and Daniella will be formalising their marriage before the Lord on Sunday, 30th July, after having completed the civic ceremony seperately as required by Romanian law. This is a rare thing amongst Gypsy communities but they both want to do this as a result of what they have learnt in their new Christian faiths. Please pray that the day goes well and for their future as a family.

Receiving their certificate
Receiving the certificate from the state, and with Pastor Vasile who works in Rapa Church

There is one vital thing that I have to talk about. The family care project has many sponsors who pay monthly towards the cost of the support that the beneficiaries receive. For Darius and Daniella’s family the sponsors are from the UK and they enable Smiles to keep our side of the partnership going!

So I trust you see the supporters are so important to Smiles and its beneficiaries! Without you we could not continually help so many people across our projects, we thank you for all you do and pray you will continue your fantastic generosity so that there can be more positive stories like this one in the future!
Nelu and Rapa family
If you are reading this and you feel God is calling you to support a family, an individual or a project then please look at the “How you can help section” on this website and look for the project amongst the Smiles Clubs that we have here. If you want more information about supporting a specific individual then please use the “contact” section and we will gladly help.

Donations can be made on line:

With sincere thanks
Luke Wathen

Development Ambassador

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