A Christmas Carol is one of our most loved Christmas stories, but what is it really all about? Charles Dickens wrote a Christmas Carol in the context of the reforms of the English Poor Laws. He wanted to speak out against a society and a Christianity that oppressed the poor and rich people who forgot those who had little and ignored children who needed help.
As we count down the final days to Christmas let’s remember this message and help those who are poor and in need. Street children are some of the most vulnerable children in the world. In the capital of Ethiopia there are 11,000 children living on the streets this Christmas. Please remember these children in this season of love and giving.
Why not give a Tribute Card to someone you love. The money donated through your gift will transform the lives of street children in Ethiopia.
Go to ‘Gift’ here - http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/support-street-children-in-africa/
Read Hussein’s story to find out how you donations in 2011 have helped to save children’s lives...
Last Christmas a boy named Hussein came to Retrak’s drop-in centre, he had been living on the streets for two months. His parents couldn't afford to feed their children and Hussein had left to try and earn some money in the city.
Hussein left his family happily because he believed that he would be able to earn money living in Addis Ababa. After a few days he quickly saw that life was difficult on the street. He couldn't find any work; he had no food, no shelter and was very lonely. He lived like this for two months believing that this was what his life would be like now; he thought that he would probably die on the streets and his family would never know what happened to him.
One night Hussein met some of the Retrak Staff Team. The Retrak staff go out to speak to the street children at night so that they can offer help and support to those who are sleeping full time on the streets. They invited Hussein to the Retrak drop in centre. After only three weeks at the drop-in centre, Hussein asked to be taken back to his family. The Retrak team managed to locate Hussein’s family and tell them that he was alive and well. Hussein’s family were amazed and said that they knew that God would answer their prayers and keep him safe.
After a few weeks Hussein returned home to him family. They were so pleased to have him back and thanked the Retrak social workers for finding him and looking after him.
In October our social workers went to visit Hussein’s family for a follow-up visit, to check how Hussein was settling in and to see if Retrak could support them in an income generating activity. When the social workers arrived Hussein was in a school. The family was given a grant with which they bought two sheep and two hens, these animals will help them generate food and some income of their own.
Hussein assured Retrak that: “Next time you meet me for sure I will be in University!”
Thanks to your generous support Hussein is safe and at home with his family this Christmas.
Have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year,
Love all at Retrak
World AIDS Day is held on December 1st each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We wanted to take this oppertunity to tell you about just one of the projects we run to help tackle the issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa.Thanks to the incredible support you give Retrak, in 2010 over 550 street children learnt about HIV/AIDS. Retrak is working hard to educate street children about HIV/AIDS and increase their knowledge and helping to reduce their chance of infection.
Retrak & Kick4Life Soccer HIV-prevention Project
Retrak works with “full time” street children that are disconnected from the protection of their family, they live and work on the streets and are at constant risk of exploitation, abuse and poor health. Many street children are HIV-affected having lost a relative through a HIV-related illness, at risk of sexual abuse, or being infected themselves.
The Global HIV Prevention Working Group insists that evidence-based behaviour change can avert up to 50% of the 15 million new infections projected to occur in the next decade. Education and behaviour change programs are not only amongst the world’s most cost-effective health interventions but also have the greatest potential to reverse the HIV pandemic. Thanks to your support Retrak have been able to introduce this pilot programme to both Uganda and Ethiopia.
The programme uses soccer as a vehicle to increase knowledge of HIV, reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS and prevent new HIV infections in street children.
The soccer based HIV-prevention project supports street children and adolescents living with HIV (and the consequences of HIV), and their families within their communities by:
Retrak has partnered with Kick4Life www.kick4life.org, a non-profit organisation based in Lesotho that uses the power of football to stop the spread of HIV. Retrak and Kick4Life have piloted a football based HIV prevention project for street children in Kampala, Uganda. Retrak and Kick4Life have design a HIV curriculum specifically targeting vulnerable street children. Retrak have been working over the last few months with Kick4Life to deliver the interactive HIV prevention programme to street boys aged 7-17.
The curriculum focuses on building basic life skills that help boys and girls adopt healthy behaviours and live risk-free. Through a series of interactive activities, soccer and discussions students gain a tangible understanding of HIV and AIDS and get a chance to practice the skills necessary for sustainable behaviour change. Key curricular topics include making healthy decisions, avoiding risks, building support networks, reducing stigma and discrimination, increasing knowledge about HIV testing and treatment, addressing gender issues, and assessing values.
Thanks to the support that you give Retrak and street children in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya Retrak is able to offer basic but imaginative catch up education for the children, focussing on key subjects such as literacy, numeracy, health and HIV/AIDS. The access to education is vital in building up the self esteem of each child which in turn helps to improve their chances of a successful return back into the community.
In Addis Ababa the capital of Ethiopia there are 11,000 children living on the streets. These children are among some of the most vulnerable in the world and really need your support. Why not give a ‘tribute card’ this Christmas. Show your love to your friends and family through Retrak ‘tribute cards’. These cards enable us to return children to safe and loving homes or provide older street children like Worju (below) with vocational training so that they can have a real alternative to life on the streets.
Go to ‘Gift’ here - http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/reaching-out-to-street-children-in-ethiopia/
... and transform the life of a street child this Christmas.
17 years Worju was 16 years old when first he came to Retrak. He ended up on the streets because his father was an alcoholic and the family was desperately poor.
Worju’s father used to abuse him and his brothers, both physically and emotionally. So Worju decided to leave his father’s home. He ran away and went to Arbaminch town where he started working around the bus station carrying luggage and goods. Worju struggled to get enough money to care of himself, so he decided to travel all the way to Addis Ababa, more than 500km. Unfortunately his hopes of making more money and getting a better life in the capital city did not go well and he ended living up on streets.
Worju’s dream when he came to Addis Ababa was to continue his schooling – he was a good student and already in grade 9, but he was not able to continue his schooling and was left without adult support and with no hope. He stayed like this on the streets for two years.
One day some other street boys told him about Retrak. The next morning Worju came to the gate of the project and talked with a social worker. After listening to his story, the social worker invited him to join the drop-in centre programme.
After establishing that it was not possible for Worju to reunite with his alcoholic father, the staff proposed to him that he do one more year of school and finish grade 9 class whilst living at Retrak’s small group home in Addis Ababa under the care of the house parents.
Worju successfully completed his grade 9. By this time we was 17 years old, so Retrak encouraged him to join vocational training in order to gain a skill from which he could earn a living. Worju opted for plumbing.
Worju has been attending his training for the last 8 months and he is doing really well in his apprenticeship and practical training. After completing the training he hopes to get a job on one of the many construction sites in Addis Ababa, whilst at the same time doing night school to complete his grade 10 certificate. Worju’s life has been turned around in the past 2 years and now he has real hope of a positive future where he can care for himself and be independent whilst continuing his dream of finishing his high school education.
In Addis Ababa the capital of Ethiopia there are over 11,000 children living on the streets. These are some of the most vulnerable children in the world and desperatly need your help this Christmas. Retrak works to transform the lives of these children. Your donations allow us return these children to safe and loving homes, they also enable children like Worju (below) to learn skills so that they can earn money and look after themselves
Why not give a 'tribute card' this Christmas to your loved ones and help transform the lives of street children! Go to the 'gift' section - http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/reaching-out-to-street-children-in-ethiopia/
Give 'tribute cards' this Christmas and make a lasting difference to the lives of childen like Worju...
... Worju was 16 years old when first he came to Retrak. He ended up on the streets because his father was an alcoholic and the family was desperately poor.
Zenia was born in Addis Ababa in 1996. Her father died when she was a young child and she lived with her mother until she was 7. Not long after Zenia turned seven her mum died from AIDS. Zenia’s uncle had to take her in and look after her. Her uncle’s wife was not happy about having to look after another child. She began to abuse Zenia, beating her and calling her names. Her uncle tried to help her but the abuse didn’t stop. In the end he told her that she should leave as she was never going to be welcome in his wife’s home. Zenia left her home with nowhere to go. She spent the night on the streets of Addis Ababa. She was attacked and raped on her first night away from home.
Zenia was scared and needed to find someone to protect her from the violence of the streets. She decided to accept the offer of another older street boy to become her “husband” . He promised to protect her from strangers. Although he did keep her safe from others he was also physically and sexually abusive towards her. After a year she decided to run away again, she was just 13 years old.
Two years later Zenia was addicted to alcohol and very damaged from life on the streets. One night she met a street outreach worker from Retrak. He spoke to her and invited her to the Retrak drop in centre. The next day she went along to the Retrak centre where she was able to see a nurse and a social worker. They spoke to her about the help that she could receive from Retrak and how they could help her move away from street life. Zenia now comes to the Retrak centre every day. She is having counselling and the social workers are trying to help build up her self esteem. Zenia has found it hard to love herself again after years of rejection and abuse.
Zenia has recently started a tailoring course and is very happy learning a new skill. Thanks to the money that you donate Retrak has been able to support Zenia on this two year course. She now has an alternative to life on the streets and is beginning to realise her potential and discover her worth.
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US Country Director