Some of the boys in our Lighthouse
What are the hopes of your children? Cherry (name changed to protect child’s identity) didn’t have high hopes for herself. At aged 15 she left school and began working in the family business selling alcohol in the slums in Kampala. She was sexually exploited and abused, and her future looked bleak.
However, her life changed when she found out about Retrak and its Premier Skills Project, which is a girls-only football program.
“It meant a lot to me. I wasn’t just playing with my peers – I was accepted by them. I was strong and helped the team score lots of goals. The team believed in me! And my social life changed – through football I made good friendships and got back the respect of the community.”
Training at the Premier Skills Project doesn’t only involve football – the coach also teaches the girls life skills, including decision-making and how to protect themselves from dangerous situations, such as trafficking and different forms of exploitation. These sessions changed Cherry’s life. Slowly her outlook on life changed and she was able to focus on her future. It gave her the confidence to apply for an apprenticeship program, where she learned hairdressing and was given equipment to start up a business.
Now Cherry can live independently and wants to give back to the program that made such a difference to her. Aged 17, she has trained as a community coach to help other vulnerable children out of exploitation, and leads a weekly football club of 18 girls, helping them in the way that she was helped. She is saving part of her money from hairdressing to invest in her future. Her mum is now engaging with Retrak and wants to join a savings club.
In 2018 (to date), in Uganda, Retrak provided shelter in the Lighthouses to 523 children (74 girls and 449 boys), providing them with a safe place to rebuild their lives and start the journey back to family-based care. The work Retrak does is life-changing for children and families and we cannot do this without your generous support. Thank you for supporting our project in Uganda which helps us to work with more children like Cherry!