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.
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.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
US Country Director