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.
Benium left home because his mother and father had separated and neither of them had the money to look after him. He believed that nobody wanted him so he ran away to try and make a life for himself on the streets.
He had been on the streets a few months and was trying to learn how to survive on his own. One evening he was beaten up by a local gang and was left to die on the streets. He had deep cuts to his head and his fingers, arms and ribs were broken. The police had found him lying on the side of the road where he had been left for a whole night with no one to help him. Benium was taken to the hospital where his wounds were bandaged but no one would take responsibility for him. He crawled back to the streets with a high fever and needing help. A lady gave him some milk and some money when she saw how ill he was. He managed to offer someone on a bike the money to take him to the Retrak centre. The man on the bike though that Benium was going to die so rushed him to the Retrak centre.
When Morgan got to Retrak, the staff on site was shocked at the extent of his injuries. His wounds were very deep and they were worried he might not recover. The Retrak staff took him back to the hospital but the staff would not treat him as he was a street child and a ‘thief’. Eventually they found a hospital that would take care of him and after blood transfusions and an operation to repair his wounds they finally believed he would survive.
Benium spent several months in rehabilitation learning to use his muscles again. He was then discharged and sent to the Retrak centre. The Retrak staff managed to get in touch with his father and let him know how ill Benium had been. After a few months he was well enough to see his family again. His younger sister was delighted to see her brother again and his father welcomed him with open arms.
A month later Benium was resettled to his Uncles house as his father was ill and had little money. His uncle was pleased to look after him and his little sister as he had no children of his own. Benium is being followed up by the Retrak medical staff. They check to see that he is recovering. He still has chalenges writing as school as his hand was so badly broken and cut.
Benium is being followed up by the medical staff to see how he was doing medically, he still has challenges with writing at school since the hand that he uses to write is the one which was repaired, but he still manages to be in school. Benium is very happy now and thanks Retrak for helping him when others wouldn’t. His uncle enjoys having the children in his house and appreciates the continued support that Retrak provide for the whole family.
Thank you so much for your continued support of Retrak. Without your help we wouldn’t be able to look after children like Benium who struggle to survive on the streets.
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US Country Director