Reaching Out to Street Children in Ethiopia

Jun 25, 2014

Amazing 100% Match Opportunity Today!

Why are these children smiling? Because today, starting at 12:00pm (noon) EST, Microsoft YouthSpark will match 100% of any donation that’s made to Retrak through GlobalGiving!

Please help Retrak take advantage of this remarkable opportunity by making your donation today. Your contribution will help children like Fred, who was born HIV-positive. He was just 9 years old when his mother died of AIDS. Two years later his father deserted him and Fred followed some boys from his rural village to Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Fred says, “I had no strength to scavenge for food or to work. The public rejected and mistreated me. HIV/AIDS was threatening to take my life. ‘Where is my daddy?’ I kept asking myself.”

Then came what Fred calls “a miracle day”.  On the streets, Fred met Elvis, a Retrak social worker, who brought him to their drop-in center and later to their transitional home. Eventually Fred was placed with a foster family. Fred says, “Retrak gave me a second chance to live a new life. I was loved, cared for, treated, fed, clothed and housed. I left the transition home to go to live with my foster family, and finally I had an answer to the question, Where is my daddy? I had a new family. My past troubles were behind me. I had a new song and a big dream. Thank you!”

Fred’s story has a happy ending thanks to donors like you. You can create more happy endings by making another donation today, while the Microsoft YouthSpark 100% match is in effect.

Microsoft’s match will begin at 12:00pm today, and please… make your donation soon! Funds are limited and may run out quickly. 

Smiling in Malawi
Smiling in Malawi
Smiling in Uganda
Smiling in Uganda
Apr 15, 2014

Microsoft Will Match Your Donation Tomorrow!


Retrak and Microsoft are teaming up to make your donation go even further! Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 16, starting at 12:00pm EST, Microsoft will provide a 50% match to any donation that you give to Retrak. If you give $100, Retrak will receive $150. A donation of $50 will become $75. Microsoft will match any gift you give to any of Retrak's programs.

And if that's not enough, Microsoft will also match 100% of the first three months of any recurring donation that you sign up for.

Your gift to Retrak tomorrow will help street children in Africa like Zergaw, a boy who was found sad, weary and confused outside of the bus station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He had been on the streets for three weeks, having left his isolated village to try to find work to help support his sisters and widowed mother. Retrak staff helped reunite him with his mother, who wept tears of joy upon seeing him again. Then they worked with Zergaw's mother to help her establish an income-generating business, and with Zergaw's school so that he could return to class.

When Retrak returned a few months later, it was clear that business was doing well. The whole family was better fed and looking healthy and all the children were back in school. Zergaw's mother said, "I am very happy and so grateful for what Retrak has done for me and for my son!"

Thank you for your past support of Retrak's programs in Africa. Please help us continue to help these children by participating in Microsoft's Bonus Day tomorrow, starting at noon EST. Be sure to make you donation early, as matching funds will run out quickly.


Mar 31, 2014

One Thousand Children at Retrak Ethiopia!

Teshome - Retrak Ethiopia
Teshome - Retrak Ethiopia's 1,000th child

We're delighted to announce that we've received our 1,000th child at Retrak Ethiopia! This is a great landmark for our center in Ethiopia, our staff, and the children we help.

Our 1,000th child, Teshome, age 15, had been on the streets for one month before joining the Retrak program. He fled from his home in Ameya, a small town in SNNPR, after experiencing terrible abuse at the hands of his stepfather. The abuse began shortly after his mother remarried. After suffering for several months, Teshome decided to travel to Addis Ababa in search of work and a better quality of life.

Life on the street what not what Teshome expected and he quickly settled back into the same pattern of abuse, loneliness and neglect. So when Teshome met one of Retrak's street outreach workers, he quickly decided to join the Retrak program. Teshome is a promising student and, with Retrak's help, he's certain he can start to rebuild his life.

The staff and children couldn't wait to celebrate and held a small party in his honor to mark this occasion. As Teshome cut the cake, the other children clapped and shouted "One thousand children at Retrak Ethiopia!"

Thank you to all our supporters who enabled us reach this great achievement. We can only reach the next 1,000 with your help. If you haven't already, please make a regular gift to Retrak.

Teshome cuts the cake to celebrate
Teshome cuts the cake to celebrate


Dec 27, 2013

"I don't know how I can thank you"

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.


Joan Townsend

 US Country Director


Dec 3, 2013

On Giving Tuesday, Help a Street Child in Africa

Gift the Gift of a Full Stomach for a Street Child
Gift the Gift of a Full Stomach for a Street Child

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 $10 from you will pay for medical treatment for two children. Twenty-five dollars will provide a safe place to sleep to two children for two months. Fifty dollars will give regular meals to two children for a year. 

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:

  • The #GivingTuesday campaign will begin December 3rd, 2013, at 12:01 PM (noon) EST and will end December 4th, 2013, at 11:59:59 AM EST, or when matching funds run out.
  • There are $250,000 available in matching funds from Microsoft.
  • Matching is applied at 100% for every $10 up to $1,000 per donor per project.
  • Only online donations (via credit card or PayPal) are eligible for matching.

A gift to Retrak can help a young person like Esubalew, a 16-year-old boy who recently graduated from Retrak's business training program. Esubalew left his home village and family because of extreme poverty and a lack of opportunities, with the hope of finding work in Addis Ababa. After three weeks on the streets, he met a Retrak Outreach Worker and decided to participate in Retrak's programs. With training and a modest financial investment from Retrak, Esubalew is now back at home, running a shoe-repair business and supporting his family. 

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 like Esubalew by taking advantage of Microsoft’s generous opportunity and make a donation to Retrak on Giving Tuesday!

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Retrak America

Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, United Kingdom

Project Leader

Joan Townsend

US Country Director
Washington, DC United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Reaching Out to Street Children in Ethiopia