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 Children  Malawi Project #16467

Hope for Street Children in Malawi

by Retrak
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Hope for Street Children in Malawi
Hope for Street Children in Malawi
Hope for Street Children in Malawi
Hope for Street Children in Malawi
Hope for Street Children in Malawi
Hope for Street Children in Malawi
Hope for Street Children in Malawi
From street child to police officer
From street child to police officer

#InternationalYouthWeek is just around the corner! This annual celebration of young people aims to bring their achievements to the forefront, showcasing the role of young people as partners in change. It also doubles as an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the youth of the world.

Starting at 9:00am EDT on Monday, August 7th, and running until 11:59pm EDT on International Youth Day, Saturday, August 12th, donations to Retrak are being matched dollar for dollar on GlobalGiving!

By supporting Retrak during #InternationalYouthWeek, you will be helping young people just like Absolom:

Absolom left home when his parents separated and his mother could no longer fend for them. Wishing to pursue his education, he travelled to Kampala city in hope of finding work so that he would be able to go back to school. Unfortunately, life in the city was not at all what he expected. Absolom joined the Tigers Club Project (Retrak Uganda) after living on the street for more than one year, over the course of which he experienced much suffering. While at the drop-in centre, Absolom was able to access catch-up education. Following his reintegration into a family environment, he completed secondary school and enrolled at Ssesse Farm School for a two year certificate course in tropical agriculture, before studying animal production and management of Busitema University. Thanks to his hard work and resolve, Absolom eventually became self-employed, something he had never expected to be possible. Now, Absolom is an officer in the Ugandan Police Force. He says that he was inspired to join the Force because of the way that it guides people and helps to keep society in order. Most importantly, however, Absolom saw this as an opportunity to show young people that their circumstances can change for the better, and to help them along this path to a better life.

“I would like to thank Retrak in a very special way for all the support extended to me, to see that I am now a serving police officer in this country; and I request that Retrak continue to provide this kind of support for other young people of this nation who are still trapped in street life, so that they too can find an opportunity to come out of a life of hopelessness in crime and find a better future, full of hope and productivity. Long live Retrak, God bless you.”

Please donate to Retrak this #InternationalYouthWeek!

Don’t forget to share the event with your friends and family, letting them know why supporting Retrak’s work with street children in Africa is so important to you!

Thank you for being a part of our success! We couldn't do it without you. Please know it is making a real difference in the lives of these children.

To stay up-to-date and engaged with Retrak’s #InternationalYouthWeek Campaign, connect with us on:

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Children eager to learn
Children eager to learn

Here at Retrak and Chisomo's Children Club, we believe that a strong focus on education is essential to ensuring that children can have more chances in life. We are pleased to share that over this past year, all children in our care that were eligible for primary school classes were re-registered. Moreover, parents played a greater role than ever before as some re-registered their children without any help from Chisomo. Below is the story of Patrick, a young boy whose experiences highlight the importance of education.

Following a disagreement with his mother, Patrick was chased away from his home. His mother did not agree with his desire to attend classes at the local school. Rather, she wanted him to stay home to look after his younger siblings while she managed her small scale business. For 12 days, Patrick lived on the streets. Thankfully, he met Chisomo Social Workers who brought him to the CCC before reuniting him with his mother.

Of his time at Chisomo, Patrick says the following: 'During my time with Chisomo, I learnt a lot of things in class... my interaction with peers also awakened I me a great desire to concentrate in education attainment... life on the streets is cruel, my friends and I agreed to focus our energies on education so that we shall someday change the fortunes of our families.'

Now 12-years-old, Patrick attends school regularly and is in primary 4, and already concerns himself with how he will be able to help his community in the future. 'I thank Chisomo for making my mother understand the importance of education, which will ultimately help me accomplish my dream of becoming a doctor someday', says Patrick. The social workers worked with his mother, offering counselling and helping her to see the value of Patrick getting an education. She, like Patrick, is grateful to Chisomo: 'I don't know what I was doing but have all the reasons to thank Chisomo for bringing my son back home and also ensuring that he is back in school.'

We at Retrak and Chisomo are dedicated to ensuring that children like Patrick are reunited with their families, able to return school, and able to set off on a path towards a hopeful future. It is your generous support that enables us to help children like Patrick. Thank you.

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Children Living at CCC in Lilongwe
Children Living at CCC in Lilongwe

In Malawi, Retrak works with a partner organization called the Chisomo Children's Club. Below is the story of Catherine, one of many children who CCC has helped return to a stable and caring home.

Catherine is an orphan who was born in Southern Malawi and lives there with her widowed grandmother and her four siblings. But she hasn’t always had a family and a place to call home. There was a time when Catherine lived outside of family care in the capital city of Lilongwe, 12 years old and alone, frightened and unsure of what to do.

Catherine explained to the CCC social worker that she dropped out of school two years ago because life was miserable without having food at home. It was hard to concentrate when she was weak with hunger. Amidst the misery and deprivation, Catherine was approached by a young woman who told her that there was better life in the city. She decided to move with her to Lilongwe to get a better job.

When she moved to Lilongwe, everything seemed good. The woman was renting a small house and she was well known in the area. Catherine observed that the woman used to hang out with different men, young and old, who also came to the house. Some stayed for a short time and others spent a night there.

After two weeks her friend disappeared and Catherine stayed alone for three days. She eventually asked for help from the Lilongwe police, who referred her to CCC’s Drop-In Center.  At CCC, Catherine received psychosocial counseling to cope with the traumatic exposure she had just gone through, as well as nutritious food, hygiene facilities and a safe place to live. In time, Catherine expressed a willingness to be taken back home. She returned home two months ago and it was during reintegration that CCC’s social workers determined that Catherine’s grandmother was a contributing factor to the young girl’s decision to leave home. The social workers involved other family members in the village to support Catherine and her siblings. The joint effort of CCC’s Lilongwe and Blantyre centers have contributed to positive results as Catherine is now fully resettled at home and back in school.

Catherine’s story had a happy ending, thanks to the support of donors like you. There are countless other children in Malawi who deserve to grow up in caring families. Please continue to support CCC as we work to return more and more children home. 


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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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Minister Kaliati Visits Chisomo
Minister Kaliati Visits Chisomo

The current food shortage in Malawi is a deep concern, so the visit to the Chisomo Children’s Club (CCC) from Malawi’s Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare earlier this year could not have come at a better time.

The Honorable Mrs. Patricia Kaliati spent three hours at CCC listening to children and taking part in their classes. She was keen to find out more about Retrak’s Model of Journeying Together, the framework for our activities and a respected benchmark for our good practice looking after street children.

Mrs. Kaliati said: “My ministry needs to learn more of your approach in order to address the push and pull factors; it is very clear that behind child disconnection lies highly vulnerable families and communities, many [who are] struggling to come to terms with economic liberalization and growing inequality. The issues can be addressed through such preventative programs and policies CCC is promoting that strike at its social and economic causes.”

CCC Manager and Retrak’s Country Director, Charles Gwengwe, said: “We are honored to have the minister see our work and we pray the visit will develop our good relations even further. The minister was here at a crucial time for us as the current difficulties in Malawi, especially with food shortages, means we need so much more sustainable support right now.”

Charles added: “Ultimately we hope this visit will benefit our center’s future by securing strategic partnerships that benefit the children at Chisomo Children’s Club throughout 2016.”

It is vitally important that Retrak and CCC work in cooperation with the Malawi government to address the issue of street children, and it's donation's like yours that allow Retrak to continue this work. Charles and the staff at Chisomo Children's Club wanted me to pass on their sincere thanks for your donation to CCC. We would not be able to help these vulnerable children without your support.



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Organization Information


Location: Cheadle - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @retrak_charity?lang=en
Project Leader:
Joan Townsend
US Country Director
Washington, DC United States

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