Reaching Out to Street Children in Ethiopia

by Retrak America
Aug 23, 2012


The Learning Center
The Learning Center

I recently returned from a trip to Ethiopia and Uganda where I visited the Retrak projects and was able to see our work in action. Driving through the streets of Addis Ababa at night, I saw countless children huddled in corners or under benches, trying to sleep in the cold rain. During the day these children could be seen begging or scavenging for food. At the Retrak drop-in center, children were laughing, playing, eating and learning, and later I visited children who were settling in for the night at Retrak's night shelter. 

Retrak makes a real difference in the lives of street kids.  Here's the story of a set of brothers who recently came to Retrak:

Abebe and Kbede are brothers who were born in the southern part of Ethiopia called Acheber. Abebe is 13 and Kebede is 7 years old. Before they came to street they lived with their parents. Their father was a farmer and their mother was a house wife.

The boys' parents never sent their children to school because of economic hardship. When the hardship became
strong they sent out their first child to their uncle’s house. Abebe used to look after the sheep and received a small amount of money. The youngest boy, Kebede, remained with his parents. Suddenly the father’s behavior changed badly. He began hitting his wife. The neighbors usually tried to intervene when there was a quarrel but he didn’t change his behavior and instead he started to fight with the neighbors.  When the problem became severe the mother left the house

Abebe was always thinking about his family and how to improve their economic situation, and he started saving the money that he got from the job. Abebe bought sheep and brought them to his family.  When Abebe came to see the family he couldn’t find his mother. He only saw his brother and father. When their father saw the sheep he asked Abebe to sell the sheep and to go to Addis Ababa. Abebe consented and they sold the sheep and came to Addis Ababa. When they reached to the bus station of Addis Ababa their father told them to stay at the bus station. They waited but their father didn’t show up. The children became terrified and started to cry.  They didn’t eat  anything for a day because they didn’t know where to get food. The community around the bus station kept
them for the night.

In the morning, Retrak's outreach team found Abebe while he was crying on the street. When they asked why he was crying he said that he was hungry. the outreach team invited Abebe and Kebede to the Retrak drop-in center.They are now getting Retrak’s services including education, medical services, food, shelter and counseling. Abebe and Kebede are now very happy.  Eventually Retrak social workers hope to place the brothers, together, with a foster family. 

Retrak was able to help Abebe and Kebede thanks the the generous contributions of our donors. Thank you for continuing to support our important work.


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Organization Information

Retrak America

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: https:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Joan Townsend
US Country Director
Washington, DC United States
$55,139 raised of $80,000 goal
848 donations
$24,861 to go
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