As 2012 comes to a close, we at Retrak want to thank you for your support of our work with street children in Africa. Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, Retrak was able to accomplish some amazing things in 2012, such as:
That’s just a partial list of Retrak’s accomplishments of 2012. We look forward to expanding our work and reaching even more vulnerable children in 2013. Our vision is a world in which no child is forced to live on the streets, and with your help we will continue working to transform highly vulnerable children’s lives, preserve families, empower communities and give each child a voice.
Thanks again for your support. Have a wonderful 2013!
The Retrak Team
P.S. Please consider making an end-of-year donation to Retrak by clicking here.
The drought in the Horn of Africa has taken a tremendous toll on the people of Ethiopia's Rift Valley. Retrak has been helping some of the most vulnerable victims of the drought by partnering with the Rift Valley Women's and Children's Development Organization (RWCDO). RWCDO has been helping 650 children stay in school by implementing feeding programs in two schools, and is also providing over 2,000 individuals with supplemental food. Adem Adulshekur is an 11 year old boy in the 5th grade at Goro Raya Primary School in Laga Hidha District, where his favorite subject is Environmental Science. Adem was asked to reflect on his impression of the school's feeding program.
He started describing the difficulties of this past year: "Last year, the drought situation was so tough that we got tired and fell asleep in classrooms because we did not get enough milk or bread at home before we come to school. We could not be attentive and participate in discussions, ask questions and give answer when asked. Our teachers let us go home one hour before the normal school time and we were not able to learn all the topics. Moreover, many children drop school in favor of going to the wild to collect edible fruits like shonka"- fruit of a cactus tree that ripe around the onset of rain. He added that even those children who attended school for the whole academic year were repeatedly absent for many days, though they did not completely abandon school.
When asked about the feeding program at his school, Adem replied that "I am glad that this program has started in my school. We get bread and tea with boiled beans every day on school days. I believe it will help us like education and attract all students to attend school regularly. I think availability of this program will avoid the problems of hunger, dropout and absenteeism that we had faced last year. I am grateful to those who understood our interest and supported our school to benefit from the program".
Thank you for supporting Retrak as we work with RWCDO to help children like Adem stay in school. Together we can make a difference in his life and in the lives of his friends, family and community.
Biniam, age 14
Biniam is 14-year-old boy from Gondar, in Ethiopia. He was living with his father and elder sister. He also has an elder brother who is living independently. His mother divorced his father and remarried another man.
Biniam lived a life of neglect and poverty, and was encouraged by his friends to go to Addis Ababa to find a job. But when he came to Addis, it was not as he expected. It even became challenging to get leftover food. Through these days on the streets he rarely had food to eat and went to sleep hungry most nights. After being in this difficult situation for a week, another street boy told him about Retrak and he was able to join the drop-in center.
After joining the drop-in center he said: “if I hadn’t come to Retrak, my life might have ended on the streets.” During his stay at Retrak he received education, clothes, shoes, recreation, life skill trainings, and meals, all of which made a big contribution to changing his behavior and attitude.
In the beginning, Retrak couldn’t trace his family and he wasn’t keen to return to them because of the neglect he had experienced. Therefore he was one of the foster program candidates and lived in the hostel.
However, eventually Retrak was finally able to trace his elder brother and get his father’s telephone number. After talking to them, it was clear that they wanted Biniam to come back home. So, after staying 11 months with Retrak and receiving on-going counseling and support, Biniam decided that he would like to return to his family. His brother also wanted to take Biniam to his parents and he clearly understood Biniam’s situation. So, with support from Retrak and his elder brother, Biniam has now returned to live with his mother, with his elder brother living nearby.
On behalf of Biniam and the other children in Retrak's programs, we would like to thank you for your support.
Jemal’s story highlights the importance of reaching children on the streets quickly. The longer a child has been on the streets he more help they will need to recover from the abuse, neglect and loneliness of street life. The droughts in East Africa have made more and more children like Jamal run away from home, believing that life on the streets will be better. You support has allowed us to reach them quickly and work to offer them a real alternative to life on the streets.
MARCH 14TH - MATCH FUNDING DAY!
If you want to support more children like Jemal remember GlobalGiving are having a match funding day! Starting at 12:00 am EDT on March 14th, GlobalGiving will be matching all donations made through www.globalgiving.org up to $1,000 per donor at 30%. We have $50,000 available in matching funds. Matching will last until funds run out or until 11:59 pm EDT!#
Jemal had a difficult life at home with his father. His dad objected to Jemal being at school and wanted him to work and provide the family with money. With money and food being so short at home Jemal left school and tried to support his father. Gradually their relationship got worse and worse and Jemal decided to run away. Just like thousands of other children he believed that he would find opportunities in the city to make a new life on his own.
When Jemal arrived at the city he was soon realized that life on his own on the street was hard. He had nowhere to go was hungry, cold and fearful of the other people on the street. He was confused and had no idea of what he should do or where he could get help.
One evening he met the Retrak social workers on the streets. They chatted to him and invited him to the Retrak drop-in centre. The Retrak workers knew that they had a much better chance of helping Jemal if they got him off the streets quickly.
Jemal accepted their invitation to come and attend the program. When he arrived at the centre he started talking to the social workers about his problems and about his dad he started to cry and cry, remembering his life at home and regretting deeply his decision to run away.
He decided that maybe life at home wasn’t as bad as he thought and compared to life on the streets he would much rather be with his family. Retrak contacted Jemals father to let him know he was safe. His father was delighted to know that his son was safe and that he wanted to return home. A week later accompanied by the Retrak social workers Jemal went back to his family. The social worker was able to help Jemal overcome his fear of facing his father again. Jemal and his father were overjoyed to be back together again. The social workers talked to them about where their relationship had broken down and Jemal told his dad how much he wanted to be in school. His father agreed that the family would work hard to keep Jemal in school. He was proud of his son for wanting to work hard on his education.
Jemal is now back at school and much happier he is with his family. On the last follow-up call from the social visit his family expressed delight at the changes they have seen in Jemal’s and how happy they were to have their boy safe and home.
Thanks to your support Retrak have been able to help over 1000 children return home to their families just like Jemal!
We couldn't have done this without you.
The Retrak Team want to say a huge thank you!
Like many vulnerable children, due to famine and poverty Denis lives on the streets of Kitale with his siblings. He works hard everyday to try and feed his brothers and sisters. They only have the clothes that they wear and sleep under sack cloth at night. Denis often ends up loitering in town, trying to find a meal to share with his bothers and sisters. Denis is the eldest child in a family of five. The family live in a small shack in a slum area of Kitale, in Kenya. They are a very poor family. Denis’ father is in jail and his young mother is an alcoholic. Her only work is seasonal, when the maize is harvested and she is employed to sort and grade the crop. The little money she earns is usually spent to drink the local brew, often meaning that the children go uncared for. With the recent droughts in the horn of Africa life has been much harder for families like Denis'.
Retrak’s partner Njia Panda Ya Tumaini (NPYT) have been running the Street Smart programme with Retrak’s support for the last year. From a base in town they hold activities to get to know the children on the streets and offer them some initial support.
Early on they met with Denis first met when he had been on the streets for a few months after dropping out of another project. The Street Smart team always made time to talk with Denis and hear about his life. They encouraged him to think about what he would like to do in the future. At first he said he wanted to start a business because of his concern for his siblings. But it was also clear that he longed to complete his education.
Denis is a very reliable and caring boy. He regularly comes to the Street Smart base and happily helps to tidy up.
In late July, the Street Smart team were offered support to send Denis to school and were able to find a place fro him in school that was sensitive to his needs and could accommodate him. NPYT have also been able to provide shelter for his younger siblings at their residential centre.
During the school holidays Denis visits the Street Smart team and talks to the other children about his life and how they can still have hope for the future. The Street Smart team have identified him to be trained as a peer educator since this is a role he takes on so naturally.
NPYT will continue to connect with Denis’ family and explore ways that they can support the whole family so that Denis and his brothers and sisters can have a brighter future.Thanks to the support that you give Retrak we are able to transform the lives of hundreds of children living on the streets of Kenya and give them a real alternative to street life. You money and support means that when children are forced to the street because of drought and famine, we are equipped and ready to help them. We wouldn't be able to do this life saving work without you. Together we can offer street children in Africa a future and new hope.
We wish you a very merry Christmas.
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US Country Director