Reaching Out to Street Children in Ethiopia

Aug 29, 2013

Retrak is Bringing the Classroom to the Streets

The Mobile School
The Mobile School

Retrak Ethiopia has a new tool to reach children on the streets!  The Mobile School is, as the name suggests, a ‘school on wheels’ that we use in street outreach to contact more children. With the help of creative panels in Amharic, we provide children with important education in literacy, numeracy, health, HIV Aids and life skills. The children’s negative experiences of formal education such as huge class sizes and corporal punishment, or being excluded for not being able to afford a uniform, are transformed along with their confidence in their ability to learn at school. It is wonderful to see children approach the mobile school tentatively and within a few minutes become actively involved, their eyes sparkling as they learn and interact with the teachers.

Thank you for providing the support that allows us to offer services such as the Mobile School to children on the streets in Africa.  Another way you can help us is to participate in GlobalGiving’s Fundraiser Campaign during the month of September. They’re giving away prizes to our supporters (JetBlue tickets, a flip cam, and more) and financial bonus awards to the organization with the most successful fundraisers.

Please consider helping Retrak by organizing your own fundraiser during the month of September! It's a fun and creative way to raise money for children in Africa! You can get step-by-step instructions by clicking here.

Many thanks,



Jun 10, 2013

The Circus comes to Retrak Ethiopia!

Practicing Circus Skills at the Drop-in Center
Practicing Circus Skills at the Drop-in Center

The circus has come to town at Retrak Ethiopia's Drop-in Center in Addis Ababa! In collaboration with the organization Fikat Circus, children at the Drop-in Center are learning circus skills and are able to increase their physical coordination, self-esteem, perserverance and endurance. Plus they have a lot of fun! Here are some comments and impressions from some of the children about the circus program:

“It is very useful.  Since I started I have got physical fitness.”

“There were things that I did not know before for instance how to play Diablo, play with hat and other plays but now I know a lot”

“It has helped me to have self confidence. Before I used to look at others while they perform and thought I would not do it but now I am perfect. This made me realize that I can do things with sport.”

“It gives pleasure and happiness as we practice. I wish to have a chance to show on a stage”

“I learned now whenever I do other activities to earn an income, I do not need easily get tired”

“Our coaches give us and direct us to have the right skill and also advise us how to do things as a team. This is good for our social life”.

“Circus is good. I am doing well and I feel very happy as I practice.”

“When I was in my home town I did not know much about sport but now I know a lot”

 “I believe that circus has to be provided every time”

On days when they know they're going to work with Fikat Circus, children usually arrive at the drop-in center early in the morning, eager to start their day. They're anxious to perform for an audience and are looking forward to events such as the International Day of the Street Child, when not only will they have a chance to demonstrate their skills, but they will contribute to the wider community by raising awareness about street children.

Thank you for donating to Retrak and allowing us to provide activities such as Fikat Circus to the street children of Addis Ababa. Please consider making another donation on June 12th during GlobalGiving's Partner Bonus Day.

Warming up for Acrobatics
Warming up for Acrobatics


Mar 11, 2013

Bonus Day is Wednesday! Can you give to help a child in Africa?

Alemu proudly showing his graduation certificate
Alemu proudly showing his graduation certificate

Alemu had been on the street for around 4 or 5 years. His parents had died and he had survived on the streets in Addis Ababa since he was 11.

About 18 months ago Alemu came to Retrak hoping to escape from the depressing future he was facing. He had never been to school and felt there was no chance at all for him to break away from his current situation. After counseling with the Retrak social workers and encouragement by the teachers, Alemu joined Retrak's literacy classes.  He surprised himself and turned out to be a keen student and studiously practiced his letters and numbers.

Alemu was encouraged to join night school at the local government school.  He joined Grade 1 at 16 years old.   He came to the Retrak program by day and participate in all the activities until 3pm.  Then it was down to the bus station and work for a couple of hours to earn some cash by carrying people's bags.  By 5pm he would return, pick up his books and head to night school.  After school he would return to the drop-in center, eat the dinner Retrak provided for him, and sleep the night.

This week he came rushing back from the school.  Bursting through the door he proudly announced, "I've graduated!". At 16 years of age, he had been promoted from Grade 1 to Grade 2 and he was incredibly excited. This year, with the help of Retrak, Alemu will continue his night school in Grade 2, and at the same time will start daytime vocational training classes and learn how to become a barber.

Suddenly life is looking up and he can now excitedly look to a future away from the street, using his skills as a barber and continuing his education.

It's thanks to donors like you that Retrak can continue to work to lift street children out of poverty and back into society. Please consider making a donation on Wednesday, March 13, when GlobalGiving will make a 30% match of your donation to Retrak.

Dec 31, 2012

Thank You!

At the Retrak Drop-In Center in Addis Ababa
At the Retrak Drop-In Center in Addis Ababa

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:

  • Over 200 children were helped to return to a safe and loving family
  • Retrak’s 1,000th child came off the streets and into a home
  • Over 1,200 children were engaged through our outreach activities
  • Retrak’s US office, Retrak America, became a registered 501(c)(3) charity
  • African Union observer status was approved for Retrak
  • 30 boys completed small business training in Addis Ababa and returned to their families or are living independently
  • Retrak began working with street girls
  • Adding to our work in Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, a new partnership was formed with a group that works with street children in Tanzania.

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!

P.S. Please consider making an end-of-year donation to Retrak by clicking here.

Dec 21, 2012

A Holiday Gift Idea from Retrak

Happy Holidays from all of us at Retrak!
Happy Holidays from all of us at Retrak!

Seasons Greetings from Retrak to all of our supporters! This holiday season we at Retrak have a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is the continuing support of our GlobalGiving community.  Your donations over this past year have enabled hundreds of children in Africa to break away from street life and return to a loving and caring family.

This month, GlobalGiving is giving us the opportunity to stretch your dollars even further. During the month of December, if you sign up for a recurring gift, GlobalGiving will give a 100% match of your first month’s donation. A recurring donation is easy to set up and automatically goes to your credit card each month so you can help provide a steady income for our work without having to worry about making separate donations each month. GlobalGiving is also giving away additional $500 grants! We need at least 10 new recurring donations before the end of the day Sunday, December 31 EDT in order to be eligible for bonus grants. Can we count on you?

A gift from you can help children like Tewodros a 13-year-old boy living on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Tewodros lived with his mother and older sister, until his mother died of AIDS when he was six years old. His sister and her husband cared for him for a while, but when they learned that he was HIV-positive, he was forced to leave their home and live on the streets of Addis Ababa. The local health center referred him to Retrak.  When he first came to us, he was physically, spiritually, and emotionally sick.  But Retrak gave him intensive counseling (including play therapy) as well as medical care.  Now, Tewodros is in a good physical, mental and spiritual state, and we hope to place him with a family in the near future.

We hope that you’ll consider making a gift to Retrak this Christmas so that we can continue to help children like Tewodros. Sign up for a recurring donation here.  Be sure to click on the “monthly recurring” option below the large orange “donate” button. Here, you will find instructions on setting up a recurring donation.

Want to give the gift that keeps on giving?  Recurring donations can also be given as gifts! Here, you will find instructions on setting up a recurring donation as a gift or in-honor of someone special.

Happy Holidays!

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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