Brian Banks is a student who is traveling throughout Africa this summer and visiting a number of GlobalGiving projects. On May 13th he visited "Provide education to AIDS orphans in rural Uganda." When asked what he would tell his friends about this project, Brian said: “Incredible: You need to see this!"
“I am different because of Tigers Club,” so said Richard, a former street child and Tigers Club beneficiary. When Richard, first came to Tigers Club for a shower he was living on the streets of Kampala. Today Richard has graduated high school (at the top of his class and with honors) and is hoping to attend university, all because of the work of Tigers Club. Not only did Tigers Club pay his school fees and provide him with a place to live, but Richard told us that Tigers Club’s medical facilities actually saved his life. Richard is one of over 1,000 street boys who have had their lives changed by Tigers Club.
Today we had the opportunity to visit the Tigers Clubhouse and meet with Dinah, the interim director. We learned that Tigers Club takes a holistic approach to meeting the needs of street children. They operate a resource center where boys can drop in for a shower, to wash clothes, get medical treatment or for a hot meal. The organization also offers long-term care, focusing on the individual needs of each boy. All boys are resettled, placed in foster care, or provided housing and reintegrated into the formal education system. Finally, Tigers Club works to equip older boys with marketable skills through vocational training that will enable them to live an independent and productive life.
As we sit writing this on a balcony overlooking a Kampala street, flooded with young street children begging for a bite to eat, the severity of the street children problem is clear. At the age of five we were not allowed to cross the street alone and yet, here, leagues of children of the same age now live on the street, alone. As we see children, each brimming with potential, begging at car windows, we realize the importance of Tigers Club in Kampala; it stands as a beacon of hope for children that the world has otherwise forgotten.
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What a year 2008 has been for Retrak!
The Tigers boys in Uganda commemorated 10 years of the project as a registered charity, and the Tigers Club's sister project, Retrak Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, celebrated its first full year of operation. Diarmuid O'Neill has taken on the role of CEO and has already begun to take Retrak into new and exciting directions. A few of the many highlights of 2008 include:
*Tigers Club was selected as the model in Uganda for the Sudanese Parliamentarians to learn from.
*A classroom block with medical room has been completed at Tudabujja Halfway Home.
* The first Retrak Ethiopia boys attending Selam Vocational Training College graduated.
*48 Retrak staff and boys completed the Great Ethiopian Run on November 23rd.
*The three cities concert tour in Nairobi, Kampala and Addis Ababa helped raise $8,530.
The biggest highlights are always those moments when the boys are able to move away from the streets into a family or into sustainable independent living. As Michael, the first Tigers boy to attend University, said, "In the Tigers Clubhouse there is someone who cares. They were generous to me, comforted me, and gave me a home."
The difficult financial climate has made life difficult for everyone, including Retrak. But, it has motivated many of our supporters to be more active than ever! This financial support has made a huge difference and we want all of our supporters to know how much you are appreciated and what a difference you are making in the lives of these boys.
We welcome any feedback you can give us on this site or on the work we're doing.
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US Country Director