Dear Retrak Supporter,
As 2013 draws to a close, all of us at Retrak want to thank you for supporting our work with street children in Africa. Retrak has had an eventful year; we expanded our programs into Malawi by partnering with an organization called the Chisomo Children’s Club in Blantyre, and we continued to reach more and more street children and their families through our programs in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. With your help, we’re coming closer to realizing our vision of a world where no child is forced to live on the streets.
On the eve of returning home to his family earlier this year, one child was moved to write a letter to a Retrak teacher, thanking him for all that he had done to help him return home. In this letter (reproduced below), he thanks “all the Retrak staff members” for our work. I’d like to pass his thanks on to you, our supporters, for making our work possible.
Wishing you the very best in 2014.
US Country Director
Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving to kick off the holiday season. This year Microsoft is making Giving Tuesday even more special by making a 100% match to any gift that’s made to Retrak’s program in Ethiopia, doubling the impact of your donation to Retrak. A gift of $20 from you will feed two children a week. Twenty-five dollars will provide counseling to two children. Fifty dollars will provide shelter, safety and food to two children for a month.
Please take advantage of this incredible opportunity to double your gift by donating to Retrak TODAY, December 3rd, beginning at Noon EST. Please make your gift early before funds run out.
The Terms and Conditions of this amazing opportunity are:
A gift to Retrak will help us support the Goro Rayya Primary School in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia, providing 650 school children with a nutritious meal every day, allowing them to concentrate on their school work and live healthier lives.
Thank you for your past support of our programs that have helped thousands of street children realize their potential and discover their worth. Please help more children by taking advantage of Microsoft’s generous opportunity and make a donation to Retrak on Giving Tuesday.
For the first time last year, Retrak worked to reach vulnerable children in a disaster situation through our partner Rift Valley Children and Women’s Development Organisation (RCWDO).
The partnership between Retrak and RCWDO enabled RCWDO to provide two target schools in Oromia with meals for one year, meaning children have energy to concentrate in class and alleviating families’ struggle to provide food. Food aid was also delivered to 2,200 members of the community including single mothers and children under five.
During the project the community constructed shelters(pictured) by contributing their labour and construction materials, so that there was a place to prepare, store and distribute the food. Children then came in to the shelter to receive the meals. One such child was Geteye.
Geteye is 12 years old and lives 6-7kms away from his school meaning he has to walk for at least an hour to get there. His family survive on a few cattle and goats, but this livestock has been much reduced due to the drought and the need to sell them for food. Without enough food and energy to complete the journey and in order to help his family, Geteye was forced to dropout of school. Now however, Geteye has been included in the school feeding programme and says, “now I have no worries of hunger and drop out as I can eat at least once a day. This helps me attend class on a regular basis. I never think of dropping out this year. I am even thinking of ranking first in my classroom!”.
The UN estimates that more than 10 million people in East Africa have been affected by the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in over 60 years. The drought in Ethiopia has resulted in a food shortage and increased malnutrition for over 97,800 people in the Oromia region alone. As a result families have been forced to migrate with their animals to areas of better pasture and children are removed from school and expected to contribute to household income through hazardous activities such as gold mining.
Retrak has been working in Oromio with a local organization called Rift Valley Children and Women Development Organization (RCWDO). We're working together to help children affected by the drought access education and regular meals.
RCWDO works with women and children to address the causes of poverty and underdevelopment in the Rift Valley areas. The partnerhsip enables RCWDO to help prevent malnutrition in Oromia by providing 650 children in two target schools with meals for one year. As a result children will have the energy to concentrate in class and alleviate the families’ burden of struggling to provide food for their children during the drought. Food aid is also provided to over 2,200 vulnerable members of the community, including single parents and children under 5 years old.
Thanks to your support, children in Oromio are able to stay in school and to eat regular meals. Please consider making an additional donation on June 12th, during GlobalGiving's Partner Bonus Days, where your donation will go even further. All donations made on June 12th will be matched by 50% by GlobalGiving.
Ayyelech Argaw is a social science teacher in Goro Rayya Primary School in rural Ethiopia.
Ayyelech says “Last year we did not have a school feeding program in our school. We usually encountered students who went faint while raising the flag in the morning. Inside the classroom, it was usual to watch students get depressed and fall asleep as the class activity progressed. There were times that I got desperate, stopped teaching and let the students have a break in the middle of the lesson. The participation of the students was minimal, to the extent that information flowed directly only from me to the students. Most of them did not react to the questions I ask. Yawning and depression were the frequent signs we always saw while teaching.’’
That was before Retrak, through our partner project Rift Valley Children and Women Development Organization (RCWDO), was able to offer students a supplemental feeding program, in which 650 children receive daily nutritious meals. Ayyelech describes a drastic change:
"This year we did not have to worry about low enrollment, absenteeism and dropout. We are just performing our regular tasks at school, teaching. Much of our time that we have been wasting moving around to get the absentee students back to school is saved. In addition, we can easily call students for catch-up classes and they voluntarily come and attend which has contributed to increasing students’ performances. I would like to convey my heartfelt thanks to RCWDO and Retrak, for they have planned and implemented this project that saved our time and even motivated us to carry out our routine tasks without complications.”
Retrak would like to thank you for your support which allows us to in turn support organizations like RCWDO. Thanks to your generousity, Goro Rayya Primary School students have nutritious meals that enable them to stay in school and concentrate on their studies.
Want to continue to support this vital feeding program? Wednesday, March 13 is GlobalGiving Bonus Day, when your donation will be matched by 30%. Please consider making a donation to Retrak on Wednesday, and continue helping us help street children in Africa.
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US Country Director