LAST week Coleraine Probus Club enjoyed a presentation by Barbara Morrison on the work of The Smiles Foundation in Romania.
Barbara, a daughter of one of the club’s members, is Development Associate for the Christian Charity, and travels three times a year to Romania to help relieve poverty and offer hope and opportunity to those who are almost forgotten.
She last spoke at the club in 2009, and gave a detailed, heart wrenching update on the progress of the work, and the challenges they face. Smiles work with children, families, homeless and elderly in villages, cities and towns around Bihor County in North West Romania.
They provide the basic needs for survival, water, food and clothing, build relationships and offer hope for a brighter tomorrow. Over the years Smiles have built schools, a church, community centres, emergency housing units, an elderly care centre, a container village for the homeless and are in the process of building a care facility for the elderly and handicapped children. Every need is met where possible, and the staff offer professional social help and education to many who have been left unloved, and are never visited by any, other than The Smiles Foundation.
With a detailed slide show, Barbara explained some of the desperate situations she faces when she visits, such as domestic abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, loneliness and disability. She explained that it is not easy, but a privilege to be able to work with these people, seeing lives changed, people putting their trust in God, and smiles put onto children’s faces.
Barbara is going out to Romania again on December 15 to distribute the Christmas Sacs of Smiles to the children, and distribute winter clothes and knitwear to families as well as some extra food to make Christmas a special time for them also.
She added that funding is required for this project and many others within the organisation, so is very grateful to Probus for their Charity Collection that day. If you would like to help or hear more, or have a presentation on the work, contact Barbara on 0788 087 5845. She will be delighted to hear from you, this is clearly an organisation getting on with some much needed work in Romania.