Rebuilding the lives of street children in Uganda

Apr 15, 2014

Microsoft Will Match Your Donation Tomorrow!


Retrak and Microsoft are teaming up to make your donation go even further! Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 16, starting at 12:00 EST, Microsoft will provide a 50% match to any donation that you give to Retrak. If you give $100, Retrak will recieve $150. A gift of $50 will become $75. Microsoft will match any gift that you give to any of Retrak's programs in Africa. 

And if that's not enough, Microsoft will also match 100% of the first three months of any recurring donation that you sign up for! 

Your gift to Retrak tomorrow will help children like Zergaw, a boy who was found sad, weary and confused outside of the bus station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He had been on the streets for three weeks, having left his isolated village to try to find work to help support his sisters and widowed mother. Retrak staff helped reunite Zergaw with his mother, who burst into tears of joy upon seeing him again. Then they worked with Zergaw's mother to help her establish an income-generating business, and with Zergaw's school so that he could return to class.

When Retrak returned a few months later, it was clear that the business was doing well. The whole family was better fed and looking healthy and all the children were back in school. Zergaw's mother said, "I am very happy and so grateful for what Retrak has done for me and for my son!"

Thank you for your past support of Retrak's programs in Africa. Please help us continue to help these children by participating in Microsoft's Matching Program tomorrow. Matching starts at noon EST. Please make your donation early, as funds will run out quickly!


Dec 27, 2013

"I don't know how I can thank you"

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. 


Joan Townsend

Letter from a boy about to return home
Letter from a boy about to return home


Dec 3, 2013

On Giving Tuesday, Help a Street Child in Africa

Enjoying a meal at the drop-in center
Enjoying a meal at the drop-in center

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:

  • The #GivingTuesday campaign will begin December 3rd, 2013, at 12:01 PM (noon) EST and will end December 4th, 2013, at 11:59:59 AM EST, or when matching funds run out.
  • There are $250,000 available in matching funds from Microsoft.
  • Matching is applied at 100% for every $10 up to $1,000 per donor per project.
  • Only online donations (via credit card or PayPal) are eligible for matching.

 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.

Aug 29, 2013

An Update Ten Years in the Making


“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!


Jun 7, 2013

Kavic's Story

"My life has changed ... I received a mattress"
"My life has changed ... I received a mattress"

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.”

On behalf of Kavic and the thousands of other children who are being helped by Retrak and CRO, thank you for your support. Please consider making an additional donation next week during GlobalGiving's Bonus Day on June 12, when GlobalGiving will give a 50% match of your donation to Retrak.


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Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, United Kingdom

Project Leader

Joan Townsend

US Country Director
Washington, DC United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Rebuilding the lives of street children in Uganda