Retrak America

Retrak works to transform highly vulnerable children's lives; preserve families; empower communities and give each of them a voice. We put children at the very heart of everything we do and will be fearless and tenacious in defending and promoting their rights.
Sep 26, 2016

Zephaniah's Story

Zephaniah in tailoring class
Zephaniah in tailoring class

Zephaniah is a 15-year-old boy from southern Ethiopia. His father was an alcoholic who frequently abused both him and his mother. When he was in seventh grade, Zephaniah had had enough, so he left home and joined street life in the capital city of Addis Ababa.

While on the street, Zephaniah encountered many different challenges such as lack of food, nowhere to sleep, no personal hygiene facilities, physical abuse, and cold weather conditions. After living on the street for about a year, Retrak outreach workers found him and invited him to the Retrak Transition Center.

At Retrak, Zephaniah had access to night shelter, meals, recreational and personal hygiene facilities, counseling, and life skills and catch-up education services. He was addicted to smoking cigarettes, but was able to kick the habit  through consistent counseling.  He was very good in attending catch-up classes at Retrak and had an interest in continuing his education, but he worried about his family’s economic hardship, so he asked his counselor if he could learn a trade. Now Zephaniah is in the final stage of his training in tailoring and hopes to gain employment in one of Addis Ababa's small garment factories, which the training center will help him secure. 

Zephaniah was able to turn his life around with the help of donors like you. On behalf of Zephaniah and the other children in the Vocational Training Program, thank you for your continued support. 

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Sep 26, 2016

Peter's Story

Peter
Peter

Peter, age 15, came from the Nakaseke District of central Uganda. He arrived at the Retrak Clubhouse in early June, accompanied by a friend and looking exhausted and confused. Peter was a loner who would interact with other children only during times when they were lining up for food.

In time, Peter started engaging in the various services offered at the Clubhouse, such as life skills lessons, counseling sessions and catch-up classes. He started interacting more and more with other children and began participating in play therapy, soccer matches and debates.

After a few weeks at Retrak, Peter stated to his counselor that he was ready to go home. “He was excited as he sat in the car taking off to Nakaseke District for a pre-visit. Through the support of the parish chief in Nakasekke, we were able to locate Peter’s home and found both parents were not at home at the time of arrival. The neighbors warmly welcomed us and even took the initiative to call the stepmother to come back home to meet us”, explained the social worker. 

It was a time of great joy and a big relief to the community as Peter’s case had been linked to child sacrifice. Peter’s problems started when he was at primary school in Nakaseke. He started having headaches that caused him to stay home from school. When pain killers and even a visit to the hospital didn’t help, Peter’s grandmother consulted a witch doctor. Shortly thereafter, Peter disappeared and some family members feared that Peter had become the victim of child sacrifice.

Peter’s stepmother couldn’t believe her eyes when she returned home and saw Peter. With a big smile she rushed towards the boy and hugged him for nearly five minutes. She marveled that “Indeed God has fought my battles; praise to Him”. His brother Kayiire said “It is a big relief to us as a family and a great joy to me seeing my younger brother alive again” as he pulled out his handkerchief to wipe the tears that were rolling down his face. 

Subsequent follow-up by the Retrak social workers has shown that Peter is doing well at home. Your generous support is the reason children like Peter are able to leave the streets of Kampala and return to stable, loving homes. Thank you from all of us at Retrak.

Peter
Peter's return draws a happy crowd
Jul 28, 2016

Chifundo's Story

Chifundo is one of the children that Retrak's partner in Malawi, Chisomo Children's Club, has helped to reunite with her family. She was just 8 years old when both her parents had died and she fled for the streets. Her community had rejected her, accusing her of practicing witchcraft learned from her mother and blaming her for sicknesses in the village. Her grandmother sent her to her aunt and uncle's home in another village to escape this cruel treatment. Her aunt would beat her badly, deny her food and even shelter, and make her work at home instead of going to school. 

Chifundo came to the streets in search of a better life. There she met David, a Chisomo Children's Club social worker, and found someone who would listen to her and help her face her problems. With help and support from Chisomo, Retrak's partner in Malawi, Chifundo is now living happily with her grandmother and attending school.

Chifundo has at last found the encouragement and support she needed. It took great courage and determination for her to leave home, yet the streets did not provide the answers. Chisomo Children's Club did.

There are many other girls and boys who are still looking for someone to listen. Chisomo has many challenges ahead and much work to do, but with your support we will continue our efforts to help street children in Malawi. Thank you for helping girls like Chifundo to create a better life for themselves.

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