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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!
The restructure of several projects in the early months of 2018 has seen our future work with the Salard Community become part of the new Field Project established within the Smiles Foundation.
The people of Salard are extremely poor and face many difficulties as a result.
Unfortunately, the mental health in general of this community is very poor and working in partnership for a better future is extremely difficult and unpredictable. As a result, we have needed to select very carefully those we are able to support, and the future will be focused on individual families rather than dealing with an entire community.
If you can help, please consider supporting the Field Project, so we can provide support towards Food and Medicine in Salard.
Please help with supporting our Field Project Operating Costs which are £3,225 / $4,190 per month.