Dear Retrak Supporter,
As 2013 draws to a close, all of us at Retrak want to thank you for supporting our work with street children in Africa. Retrak has had an eventful year; we expanded our programs into Malawi by partnering with an organization called the Chisomo Children’s Club in Blantyre, and we continued to reach more and more street children and their families through our programs in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. With your help, we’re coming closer to realizing our vision of a world where no child is forced to live on the streets.
On the eve of returning home to his family earlier this year, one child was moved to write a letter (reproduced below) to a Retrak teacher, thanking him for all that he had done to help him return home. In this letter, he thanks "all the Retrak staff members" for our work. I’d like to pass his thanks on to you, our supporters, for making our work possible.
Today is Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving to kick off the holiday season. This year Microsoft is making Giving Tuesday even more special by matching, dollar-for-dollar, donations made to Retrak’s program in Uganda --doubling the impact of your donation to Retrak. A gift of $30 from you will pay for the medical care of two children at our drop-in center. Seventy dollars will pay the salary of our cook for an entire month. A $50 gift will pay for the maintenance of our soccer field for two months.
You can take advantage of this incredible opportunity to double your gift by donating to Retrak TODAY December 3rd, beginning at Noon EST. Please make your gift early before funds run out.
The Terms and Conditions are:
A gift to Retrak will help a child like Luke, who left home at age 12 because he was mistreated by his stepmother and was not permitted to attend school. Leaving his home village of Luwero behind, Luke arrived in Kampala, where he survived for two years by scrounging for food and making small amounts of money as a porter at the bus depot. A friend directed him to the Retrak drop-in center where he could find food, clothing and a game of soccer free of charge. Luke said of the drop-in center, “I was welcomed with love and I felt valued”. He’s now at Retrak’s halfway home, where he’s participating in sports, catch-up education, agricultural training and counseling in anticipation of returning home and beginning a new life.
Thank you for your past support of our programs that have helped thousands of street children realize their potential and discover their worth. Please help more children like Luke by taking advantage of Microsoft’s generous offer and make a donation to Retrak on Giving Tuesday.
“It never occurred to me that I would come this far.”
These are the words of Peter Iganga , a boy who enrolled in our program when he was 14 years old in 2003 (when it was called the Tigers Club Project). He had left home to escape physical abuse by his stepmother and ended up in Kampala, barely surviving by scavenging for scrap metal.
While in the slums of Kisenyi, other children told him that there was food to be found at Tigers Club. Upon his arrival at the clubhouse, he was welcomed by the staff and given a plate of food. Afterwards, a nurse treated his wounds. He decided to stay, taking advantage of Retrak’s night refuge and catch-up learning program. He told his counsellor that he wanted to go back to school, but not back to his abusive home, so he moved into the Retrak hostel and attended primary school, then secondary school, and finally a vocational institute where he earned a certificate in cosmetology. Peter is now managing a salon, where he earns a good living and is saving to pay for further education.
Peter says, “I am so grateful to Retrak, for taking care and shaping me to become the kind of person I am right now. May the almighty God bless each one of you”.
Would you like to help more children like Peter grow to realize their potential? One way you can help us is to participate in GlobalGiving’s Fundraiser Campaign during the month of September. GlobalGiving has created this fundraiser tool to help you get started. 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.
Creating your own fundraiser is a fun and creative way to make a difference in the lives of street children in Africa. Click here for further details on this exciting opportunity!
This morning I received in my in-box the story of a boy who's supported by Retrak's partner project in Uganda, CRO. It was sent out by a colleague in the UK to remind us of why work hard to support children and young people in Africa. I thought I would share it with you:
“My name is Kavic (not real name). I am 16 years old. I used to stay in the suburb of Kasanvu in Mbale with my parents. In 2003 my mother separated with my father because my father was involved in another relationship. He abandoned us in the house and disappeared with his second wife to some unknown place. Life became very difficult and the only source of income we had was from the sale of alcohol my mother brewed. The money was not enough to pay house rent and buy food for the family. I went to the streets and started picking scrap for sale and in a day I could earn USH1000 [less than 40¢] and took this money to my mother so she could buy food.
In 2004 CRO Social Workers found me on the streets picking scrap. They invited me to the Centre to attend the rehabilitation programme. A few months later, my mother was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. She began on the treatment of ARVS. This helped her to continue with her business of brewing alcohol. In 2009 my mother became very weak and died. I was thrown out of the house because I could not afford to pay house rent. I went to sleep on the streets but CRO learnt of it and resettled me with a foster mother. I stayed with her for about one year and she later chased me out of the house. I resorted to sleeping in a video hall where I paid for a night while I went to school. This affected my concentration at school because I sometimes had to leave early so I could work to get this money.
I am very glad that I am one of the boys that was selected to sleep in a better room. My life has changed because I received a blanket and a mattress. I can do my evening studies and feel safe and secure in the night. I go to school in Mbale S.S in S.4. My interests are in sciences. When I grow up I want to become a Medical Surgeon. I want to thank all the people who have helped CRO to support me. Without this support I would be still in the streets leading a miserable life. Thank you very much.”
“My son is alive, he is not dead! Oh thank you God.” Those were the words of the mother of Peter, twelve years old, when Retrak social workers brought him to his home village for the first time since he ran away several months earlier. The visit was meant to be a short pre-resettlement home visit, but it turned out to be a resettlement, as his mother wept tears of joy at seeing her son again and all agreed that Peter should stay.
Peter returned home during school holiday time, and when the holidays were over he was very excited to return to school. But when Retrak social workers followed-up at the school three months later, Peter was nowhere to be found. The social workers eventually found him in the forest, burning wood for charcoal. He explained that he and his mother could not afford the school fees, so he was making charcoal to sell in order to pay the fees. The Retrak social workers returned to the school with Peter, paid his remaining school fees and spoke to the teacher about watching out for Peter and letting them know if there were any further absences. Now they're working with Peter's mother (his father died many years ago) to support her in income-generating projects so that Peter can continue his education.
Resettling children, making follow-up visits, and supporting income-generation projects are just a few of the many activities that Retrak does to ensure that each child in our program is able to grow up in a safe and loving home, and it's thanks to your support that we're able to continue our work.
This Wednesday, March 13 is a GlobalGiving Bonus Day. Any donation you make to Retrak will be matched by 30%. Please consider making a generous donation on Wednesday to help Retrak and the children in our program.
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