ROTARY ROUND-UP: Putting Smiles on peoples’ faces

Children from one of Smiles family care projects
Children from one of Smiles family care projects

This week, Kim Woodley, from the Rotary Club of Worthing, gives an update on the latest and future goings-on.

Occasionally Rotarians have the opportunity to visit some of the projects abroad that we have supported and this summer I am fortunate to be able to spend some time with The Smiles Foundation in Romania.

This fairly small but extremely active organisation aims to make a smile appear on the faces of children and parents struggling for life in this impoverished nation.

Established in 1997, first as a ‘charitable club’, the Smiles Club subsequently became a fully approved charity in the United Kingdom, America and Romania itself.

The charity seeks to relieve poverty, promote education and provide hope and opportunity for many through a variety of projects which include Evangelistic outreach, food distribution, medical support, social assistance, education, elderly care, child care and housing provision.

As well as the regular family care project that delivers food every month to 200 families the charity has established the Cihei Children’s Centre, an elderly care centre, the emergency housing unit in Mierlou, and a new community centre in Gepiu which includes a day centre providing education, training in life-skills and outreach to the entire community.

In Tileagd, phase one of building the community complex, incorporating a new school for up to 250 children, was completed and phase two began incorporating a medical clinic and a community centre/gymnasium for sports, social and cultural activities.

Along with the foundation’s first church build, the entire complex is now open.

In 2010 Smiles purchased land in Salonta to build the Joint Facility of Love and in 2013 opened a care home for the elderly.

They immediately began building work on phase two – a centre for those with disabilities, including a specialist wing for residents with dementia.

In 2014, Smiles opened Elderly Care Oradea (ECO) in partnership with the state and by 2016, JFL phase two was complete and opened.

Also, within the Boga mountains, land had been purchased with a view to providing a mountain retreat/camp centre.

The first camp was in summer 2015.

Now, the newest project is launched with converting part of the Tileagd complex to an adult assisted living facility, scheduled to be opened the second half of 2017.

It will be a very moving experience to visit these projects and to help with the children’s club but it will be so worthwhile to see the fantastic work that is going on in an area of the world so different to our own.

To raise funds for groups such as the Smiles organisation, as well as the many local causes that we support, we are organising a car boot sale on Saturday, August 12, on the Adur Recreation Ground.

This venue is a great location with plenty of parking and attracts many buyers and sellers.

To book a space or for more information contact Marlene on 07715 720363.

If you’d like to join our Rotary club to find out more about how you can help make a difference in our community do call us and arrange to come along to one of our Monday meetings.

We would love to welcome you.

Details of Worthing’s three Rotary clubs are:

• Worthing Rotary Club meets Monday, 12.55pm, at the Chatsworth Hotel, in The Steyne, Worthing, 01903 209564.

• West Worthing Rotary Club meets Tuesday evening at Tudor Close, Ferring, 01903 501961.

• Worthing Steyne Rotary Club meets Monday evening at The Ardington Hotel, in Steyne Gardens, Worthing, 07788 638757.

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