Meet David. David entered a life of hardship at an early age when his parents separated and later died. He went to live with an uncle who tried to force him to be a witchcraft shrine attendant rather than go to school. Instead, David went onto the streets of Kampala, Uganda.
In desperation , David turned to a church for help and from there he was referred to Retrak. David entered Retrak's foster care program and while he found it difficult at the start, he eventually settled into a loving home where he felt safe and happy. This allowed him to rejoin the community where he became an influential leader of those around him, especially other children.
Why is this boy smiling? Because today, starting at 12:00pm (noon) EST, Microsoft YouthSpark will match 100% of any donation that’s made to Retrak through GlobalGiving!
Please help Retrak take advantage of this remarkable opportunity by making your donation today. Your contribution will help children like Fred, who was born HIV-positive. He was just 9 years old when his mother died of AIDS. Two years later his father deserted him and Fred followed some boys from his village to Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Fred says, “I had no strength to scavenge for food or to work. The public rejected and mistreated me. HIV/AIDS was threatening to take my life. ‘Where is my daddy?’ I kept asking myself.”
Then came what Fred calls “a miracle day”. On the streets, Fred met Elvis, a Retrak social worker, who brought him to our drop-in center and later to our transitional home. Eventually Fred was placed with a foster family. Fred says, “Retrak gave me a second chance to live a new life. I was loved, cared for, treated, fed, clothed and housed. I left the transition home to go to live with my foster family, and finally I had an answer to the question, Where is my daddy? I had a new family. My past troubles were behind me. I had a new song and a big dream. Thank you!”
Fred’s story has a happy ending thanks to donors like you. You can create more happy endings by making another donation today, while the Microsoft YouthSpark 100% match is in effect.
Microsoft’s match will begin at 12:00pm today, and please… make your donation soon! Funds are limited and may run out quickly.
Retrak and Microsoft are teaming up to make your donation go even further! Tomorrow, Wednesday, April 16, starting at 12:00 EST, Microsoft will provide a 50% match to any donation that you give to Retrak. If you give $100, Retrak will recieve $150. A gift of $50 will become $75. Microsoft will match any gift that you give to any of Retrak's programs in Africa.
And if that's not enough, Microsoft will also match 100% of the first three months of any recurring donation that you sign up for!
Your gift to Retrak tomorrow will help children like Zergaw, a boy who was found sad, weary and confused outside of the bus station in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He had been on the streets for three weeks, having left his isolated village to try to find work to help support his sisters and widowed mother. Retrak staff helped reunite Zergaw with his mother, who burst into tears of joy upon seeing him again. Then they worked with Zergaw's mother to help her establish an income-generating business, and with Zergaw's school so that he could return to class.
When Retrak returned a few months later, it was clear that the business was doing well. The whole family was better fed and looking healthy and all the children were back in school. Zergaw's mother said, "I am very happy and so grateful for what Retrak has done for me and for my son!"
Thank you for your past support of Retrak's programs in Africa. Please help us continue to help these children by participating in Microsoft's Matching Program tomorrow. Matching starts at noon EST. Please make your donation early, as funds will run out quickly!
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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Dear Retrak Supporter,
As 2013 draws to a close, all of us at Retrak want to thank you for supporting our work with street children in Africa. Retrak has had an eventful year; we expanded our programs into Malawi by partnering with an organization called the Chisomo Children’s Club in Blantyre, and we continued to reach more and more street children and their families through our programs in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. With your help, we’re coming closer to realizing our vision of a world where no child is forced to live on the streets.
On the eve of returning home to his family earlier this year, one child was moved to write a letter (reproduced below) to a Retrak teacher, thanking him for all that he had done to help him return home. In this letter, he thanks "all the Retrak staff members" for our work. I’d like to pass his thanks on to you, our supporters, for making our work possible.
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