The Smile of Hope started with Leila Gomes. Leila is 25 years old and lives in Bolton with her family
Leila won the Miss Mozambique beauty contest in 2011 and the prize was a trip to Mozambique. Knowing that the people she would encounter there were in a great need, she started fundraising around the town and greater Manchester, including different churches, pharmacies and schools as well as her local college.
She managed to collect school materials, pens, rubbers, books and toiletries. The pharmacies also gave her medicines and condoms. All of these things were donated to help the people she would encounter in Mozambique.
When she arrived in Mozambique she found that most of the children went to school without food. She wanted to help them so she bought fruit for the children. For many of the children it would be the ONLY food they had that day. It was clear to see how a little help could make a big difference to these children.
She was so touched by her experience in Mozambique that when she came back to Bolton she was inspired to pursue her dream of helping those in need. She knew she needed help from others and with their support the Smile of Hope organisation was born.
The name of The smile of hope came to Leila and Maria when we arrived in Mozambique on our first trip and saw the childrens 'smiles of hope'.