Project #2202

Rebuilding the lives of street children in Uganda

by Retrak America

Mothers Day is just around the corner, and we can't think of a better way to honor the mother in your life than to give a gift in her name to help some of the thousands of children living on the streets of Uganda.

A gift to Retrak would help children like Paul, age 10, who was taken from his mother by his fater, whom Paul refers to as a "drunkard".  Paul narrates, "My father used to lock me up in the house as he went to work every morning.  In this he claimed that he was preventing me from walking away from home since I wasn't going to school."

But one day Paul's father left the house unlocked, and walk away he did, towards the capital city of Kampala, "I came alone all the way, very scared since it had already grown dark.  I kept looking back but no one was coming after me.  God helped me and I got to this small town, which was still busy.  However, people started closing their stores to return home.... I became very worried and afraid when I realized  there were no people moving in that town any more.  I was scared and I kept asking myself, what if sorcerors got me here, wild animals or dogs attacked me because I was seeing them move around?"

Eventually two policemen found Paul and offered to help him by taking him to Retrak's Drop-In Center in Kampala.  At Retrak, Paul says "I feel very safe here and okay now.  I play with  my friends, learn and also get food.  I thank Retrak because they are going to take me to my uncle's place."

On March 7th, Paul was accompanied by Retrak social workers to his uncle's home, where he received a very warm welcome.  His aunt praised Retrak for their "merciful heart", adding that nobody else would have done such an act of mercy.

Paul's life was transformed with the help of Retrak, and we couldn't do our work without the generous support of our donors.  Thank you for your help in returning Paul to a loving family.  Won't you consider making another donation in honor of Mothers Day?  To donate, please click on this link:

A happier life at Retrak
A happier life at Retrak

Retrak are delighted to have reached a huge milestone for our organisation. We have returned over 1000 children back to safe and loving families and away from street life! We couldn't have done this wihtout your support - Thank You!

If you want to help us return our next 1000 children home then please keep supporting our work. Don't forget March 14th - Match Funding Day!! Starting at 12:00 am EDT on March 14th, GlobalGiving will be matching all donations made through up to $1,000 per donor at 30%. We have $50,000 available in matching funds. Matching will last until funds run out or until 11:59 pm EDT.

Bwazi's story...  

 In Uganda on the 31st January 2012, Bwazi became the 1000th child that Retrak helped to return to his family home. But like every street child, his journey to this point was not an easy one.


Bwazi used to get teased a lot at home; the other children in his village picked on him and always tried to get him into trouble. Bwazi admits that he wasn’t always an angel, and one time he stole some money from his father who he didn’t get on with and who didn’t really care for him.

One day it all got too much and Bwazi took a neighbour’s bicycle and left. He was 13. He eventually found himself in Kampala a long way from home. There he met some boys who lived in the streets. They advised him to sell the bicycle for scrap in the local market so that they could all enjoy a good meal together. After that, the boys hung out on the streets. Every day became a struggle for survival, begging for food and searching for shelter. He had become another forgotten street child.

That is until one of the children, who had met Retrak’s street outreach workers, suggested that they go along to Retrak’s drop-in centre.


At the drop-in centre Bwazi found a listening ear. The Retrak staff had time to listen to his story and help him work through his past experiences. Bwazi was sure he didn’t want to stay on the streets, but he also didn’t think he could go home to his father. Through several counseling sessions, as well as through his catch-up education, sports and life-skills classes, Bwazi gained the confidence to visit his family again.


In December 2011 Bwazi, accompanied by Retrak’s social workers, went to visit his home. Everyone was amazed to see him. There were floods of tears. They met with his uncles and aunts to start with and, with support from Retrak’s staff, Bwazi was able to explain what had happened and to seek forgiveness for the bicycle that he stole. The Retrak social workers were able to assess the family situation and to discuss the way forward, including the possibility of Bwazi returning to live with his uncle since he was still not happy to return to his father.

After a further period of support and preparation Bwazi was accompanied back to his family home and placed in the care of his uncle and aunt. Bwazi will be one of approximately 200 children who Retrak will follow-up with during 2012 to ensure they have settled and are able to continue without support.


Thank you so much for supporting Retrak and helping us reach this huge milestone. We couldn't have done it without you!

The Retrak Team



Kissa learning tailoring skills
Kissa learning tailoring skills

We are delighted to tell you that over the past 12 months Retrak and have reached out to over 40 girls living on the streets of Mbale in Eastern Uganda and offered them health care, education and counselling at the drop-in centre. Staff then supported these girls in skills training, such as tailoring as shown in the photo, as a step towards earning a living and contributing towards family income.

Thanks to your amazing and generous support 30 girls have gained the care and protection of a family and no longer need to worry about their safety and health on the streets.
Retrak are passionate about working with street children and believe that by working together with other organisations and community groups that we can help far more children than we could alone. One of Retrak’s partners in Uganda is Child Restoration Outreach. The organisation‘s goal is to contribute towards the prevention, rehabilitation, education and resettlement of street children and empowerment of their families in order for them to become productive and self reliant. 

Thanks to the money that you donate Retrak and CRO are now working in partnership to resettle street girls with their families. Without your support we wouldn’t be able to offer these girls an alternative to life on the streets.

Thank you for helping these girls realise their potential and discover their worth. We couldn't do it without you!

The Retrak Team X

Street Life
Street Life

We are now counting down the days, opening the last few doors on our Advent Calendars and buying last minute presents before Christmas. Christmas is the season of good will, please take a few moments to slow down and read Andrew’s story about being on the streets and how thanks to your support he is with a safe and loving family this Christmas.

Please consider giving a Tribute Card to someone you love. The money from this gift will allow Retrak to help more children like Andrew. Go to ‘Gift’ here - ...

It was December and Andrew was just 12 years old. He set off from his rural home for Kampala, Uganda’s capital. He didn’t know anyone in the city, but, since his family wasn’t able to keep him in school, he was determined to find someone to help him continue his education.

Like many children who end up on streets, Andrew’s vulnerability stems from poverty and family breakdown. In Uganda more than half of all children are considered to be vulnerable and over 60% do not live with their biological parents. In Andrews’s case it was his father’s drinking and the subsequent beatings that drove his family apart.

Retrak's staff regularly visit the streets and slum areas where many street children hang out in Kampala. It’s on the streets of Kampala that the Retrak staff met Andrew last Christmas. He had been on the streets for almost a year and found street life to be hard and unforgiving; he wasn't able to earn much money and feared for his safety at night. Andrew went with the Retrak staff to the drop in centre where he was able to find a safe space to sleep, get washed, relax and receive a good meal. After a few weeks Andrew joined Retrak’s halfway home, designed to give children the security and care needed to overcome their past experiences and move forward. This was just what Andrew needed. He struggled with anger towards his father. He often retreated into himself and found it hard to accept the love and support on offer. Through a lot of patient counselling, encouragement in class and participation in fun activities, Andrew slowly learnt to forgive his father and to even wonder how he could help his father overcome his addiction.

Retrak accompanied Andrew on a visit to his family. Sadly the situation had not changed and with his family still dispersed there was no home that he could return to. As Retrak supports the goal of the Uganda government and of keeping children in families, the next step was to identify a foster family for Andrew. Although foster care for street children is still rare in Uganda, Retrak’s experience meant that a suitable family was identified and trained. After a few more weeks Andrew was ready to move in with his foster family. They made him feel very welcome and his new brothers were excited to have him as part of the family. With ongoing support and guidance from Retrak, Andrew’s foster family has given him the care and sense of belonging which has allowed him to go from strength to strength.

Thanks to your support Andrew is safe with a loving family this Christmas.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year.

The Retrak Team X

Retrak & Kick4Life Soccer HIV-prevention Project
Retrak & Kick4Life Soccer HIV-prevention Project

World AIDS Day is held on 1 December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We want to tell you about the work that Retrak do in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Thanks to the incredible support you give Retrak, in 2010 over 550 street children learnt about HIV/AIDS. Retrak is working hard to educate street children about HIV/AIDS and increase their knowledge helping to reduce their chance of infection.

Retrak & Kick4Life Soccer HIV-prevention Project

Retrak works with “full time” street children that are disconnected from the protection of their family, they live and work on the streets and are at constant risk of exploitation, abuse and poor health. Many street children are HIV-affected having lost a relative through a HIV-related illness, at risk of sexual abuse, or being infected themselves. 

The Global HIV Prevention Working Group insists that evidence-based behaviour change can avert up to 50% of the 15 million new infections projected to occur in the next decade. Education and behaviour change programs are not only amongst the world’s most cost-effective health interventions but also have the greatest potential to reverse the HIV pandemic. Thanks to your support Retrak have been able to introduce this pilot programme to both Uganda and Ethiopia.

Our Goal

The programme uses soccer as a vehicle to increase knowledge of HIV, reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS and prevent new HIV infections in street children.

The soccer based HIV-prevention project supports street children and adolescents living with HIV (and the consequences of HIV), and their families within their communities by:

  • Raising awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS;
  • Combating misunderstandings, stigmatisation and discrimination around HIV/AIDS

Retrak has partnered with Kick4Life, a non-profit organisation based in Lesotho that uses the power of soccer to stop the spread of HIV. Retrak and Kick4Life have piloted a football based HIV prevention project for street children in Kampala, Uganda. Retrak and Kick4Life have design a HIV curriculum specifically targeting vulnerable street children. Retrak have been working over the last few months with Kick4Life to deliver the interactive HIV prevention programme to street boys aged 7-17.

The curriculum focuses on building basic life skills that help boys and girls adopt healthy behaviours and live risk-free. Through a series of interactive activities, soccer and discussions students gain a tangible understanding of HIV and AIDS and get a chance to practice the skills necessary for sustainable behaviour change. Key curricular topics include making healthy decisions, avoiding risks, building support networks, reducing stigma and discrimination, increasing knowledge about HIV testing and treatment, addressing gender issues, and assessing values.

Thanks to the support that you give Retrak and street children in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya Retrak is able to offer basic but imaginative catch up education for the children, focussing on key subjects such as literacy, numeracy, health and HIV/AIDS. The access to education is vital in building up the self esteem of each child which in turn helps to improve their chances of a successful return back into the community.


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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
$68,517 raised of $100,000 goal
408 donations
$31,483 to go
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