The latest success story to come from Retrak Ethiopia is that of Ahmed*, who joined Retrak’s program two years ago when he was 17 years old.
Upon leaving his rural home in search of a better life in the capital of Addis Ababa, Ahmed soon found himself living on the streets. Ahmed realized his mistake and, despite desperately wanting to return home to his family, he could not afford to do so.
Luckily, Ahmed heard from other boys living on the street about Retrak’s local center. Soon after, he met with Retrak’s outreach workers and was invited to join our program. With the guidance of social worker Biruk Nidaw, Ahmed flourished through both our counseling and education services, before being successfully reunited with his family in October 2012.
Biruk has been following up with Ahmed on his many achievements since reuniting with his family. While only 15.7% of boys in Ethiopia attend secondary school (UNICEF, 2012), Ahmed’s business brain has shined through against the odds. Not only has he completed grade 10 of secondary education, but he has also gone on to set up his own highly profitable business selling clothes in his local community. Through this entrepreneurial venture, Ahmed has been able to support his family, but his dreams are even bigger still. He next has his heart set on establishing his own woodworking business after completing his vocational training in carpentry.
Biruk believes that Ahmed’s family played an important role in his success. In offering their love and support, Ahmed was encouraged to keep up his motivation for change. Commenting on the Income Generating Activity grant Ahmed received from Retrak to support his work ambitions, his father noted ‘I was unable to give him that help, so I was serious and followed him to make sure he spent the money wisely. I never took his money to use for our daily expenses’. Ahmed himself added ‘I had no hope of returning home by myself. If I had been ignored by Retrak and not joined the program my life would have ended on the street being addicted to different drugs’.
We look forward to bringing you more stories of young people like Ahmed. Thanks to the fantastic work of Retrak staff and your amazingly generous support, more children can now look forward to a positive and prosperous future in 2015 and beyond.
*Name changed to protect the child’s identity
Twenty years ago, two expats living in Kampala, Uganda, started playing pick-up soccer after work with a group of street boys. Little did they know in 1994 that over the course of the next two decades, this soccer club would evolve into a highly effective and respected organization that would change the lives of thousands of vulnerable boys and girls and their families in five African countries.
Oscar was one of the hundreds of children who walked through the gates of Retrak’s Clubhouses last year, taking that first step off of the streets and into a new life. After enduring many months of hardship alone on the streets of Kampala, Oscar found love and support at the Clubhouse. Oscar was a bit older than most of the children in Retrak's program, and with the guidance of a Retrak social worker, decided to pursue vocational training in metal welding with the hope of someday supporting himself independently. Retrak supported Oscar through his training and apprenticeship and assisted him as he transitioned into independent living, supplying him with support for accommodation, food, and a few simple tools.
Oscar is living completely independently now, working as a welder and saving money to start his own welding business and hire an assistant. He is forever grateful to Retrak, saying,
“I can’t imagine where I am now compared with two years back when food and shelter were my priority concerns. Today I can afford to eat what I choose and have a rented room for my home. Retrak you mean the world to me for without you I would not have had a chance to live again”
Our work is vital to children like Oscar and to the thousands more like him who are living outside of the protection of a loving family. We wouldn’t be able to do this work without the support of donors like you. Thank you for helping make our work possible!
#GivingTuesday has finally arrived! This is an exciting opportunity for Retrak because Microsoft is giving a 100% match to any gift that you make to Retrak through GlobalGiving, up to $500!
Please donate soon, as matching funds could run out quickly. By donating to Retrak now, you can double the impact that Retrak makes with children living on the streets of Africa, helping them return to a loving home and family.
Your donation will help children like Ayana, a young Ethiopian girl who was sent by her aunt to a life of domestic servitude when she was 5 years old. In exchange for food and shelter, Ayana spent her days scrubbing floors, washing clothes and preparing meals for a family. When she was 14 years old, her employer beat her and forced her out onto the streets. Fortunately for Ayana, Retrak heard of her situation and stepped in to help. Ayana was reintegrated with her family and is living in a stable, loving and supportive home. You can read more about Ayana here.
Fred is another child who was helped by Retrak. Retrak’s outreach workers in Kampala, Uganda, met Fred for the first time during a regular soccer training session. Activities like these, held near the streets where the children live, provide a chance to get to know the children and for them to understand what Retrak can offer. Over the course of the following week, Fred joined in with soccer and other games, as well as getting good meals and attending the education and life-skills classes at the drop-in center. By the end of the week, Retrak’s outreach worker had learned that Fred had been on the streets for some time. Since he hated getting dirty and sleeping outside, he mopped the floor in a video hall every evening so that he could sleep inside. He had run away from home after his parents divorced and his father wouldn’t care for him.
After 5 months of counseling and preparation at the halfway home, Fred was able to return to live with his mother. He’s now settled at home and is back in school. You can read more of Fred’s story here.
On behalf of Ayana and Fred, and the thousands of vulnerable children that Retrak works with every year, thank you again for supporting us in our vital work in Africa. Please make a #GivingTuesday donation to Retrak today.
Meet Musa. Musa was only 8 years old when Retrak met him living on the streets of Addis Ababa. His mother had left him with his father who was an abusive alcoholic. Musa worked at the side of roads collecting tar, he had little to eat, no warm clothes and was regularly beaten. The streets seemed like a better option. Retrak tried to help him return home, but even with the local council’s help, his father couldn’t manage and Musa eventually returned to Retrak.
Musa is one of many children Retrak has met on the streets whose family background is so dificult that returning home simply isn't an option. But that doesn't mean that they have no chance of a home at all.
Foster care provides the chance for a child to experience the security of a loving family, which can be transformational in a child’s life. A safe and caring family provides a child with the best chance to grow and develop normally, without the burden of being alone, rejected or uncared for.
In Ethiopia there is very little foster care. There isn't even a word for it in the Amharic language. But, together with UNICEF and other interested NGOs, Retrak has begun to work towards foster care for children on the streets. Retrak hopes to recruit the first foster families soon and place children in their care, including Musa.
Thank you for your past support of Retrak's programs with street chlldren in Ethiopia. Please consider making another donation to Retrak. With your help, Retrak's foster care program will soon be up and running and Musa and children like him will be able to grow and thrive in a loving family.
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.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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US Country Director