Project #2202

Rebuilding the lives of street children in Uganda

by Retrak America
Apr 27, 2011

Paulo's Story

Paulo playing at the drop in center
Paulo playing at the drop in center

Paulo lost both his mother and father to AIDS.  When his mother had become sick she decided to take Paulo and his brother to live with their fathers sister. There auntie was very welcoming to the two boys even though she struggled financially with her own children.

Paulo’s maternal grandmother would send them money to pay for their school tuition but their aunty would keep the money to help buy food for the family. Paulo and his brother were eventually sent away from school. Paulo knew he had to look after his little brother and make sure he had a good education. He believed that he would be able to make some money if he ran away to Kampala and got a job.

Life in Kampala was very hard. Paulo was forced to sleep on the streets as he had nowhere to go. He tried to collect scrap metal and plastic bottles to earn money but he struggled to make enough money to feed himself. Paulo new there was no way that he would be able to send money home to his little brother. He lived on the streets in Kampala for a year as he was too afraid and ashamed to go back home.

The Retrak staff met Paulo during street outreach and invited him to visit the drop in centre. Paulo went to the drop in centre the next day and was able to have a hot meal and see a nurse. He started to visit the centre regularly to play with the other children and have catch up lessons.

The Retrak staff knew that Paulo desperately wanted to be with his brother again and started to look for a way for him to return home. They visited his aunty but saw that she was struggling to cope financially. They then went to see his Grandmother on his mother’s side and spoke to her about her grandchildren. She was desperate to see her grandchildren and more than happy to take them both in.

When the Retrak staff took Paulo to meet his Grandmother she didn’t recognize him. Other members of the family came along to see the boy that they believed they would never see again. Paulo was delighted to see that his family still wanted him.

The family thanked the Retrak staff and gave them drinks to celebrate the Paulo’s return. His grandmother was very pleased that her two grandchildren would be living with her soon.

 Just a week after Paulo had been taken to see his grandmother he was on his way back home. He knew his grandmother and little brother were waiting for him and he couldn’t be happier. The pain of living on the streets was starting to disappear.

Paulo is now back in school and doing well with his catch up lessons. The Retrak staff have been to visit the family and are delighted to report back about how well he is doing.



Thank you for supporting Retrak and enabling children like Paulo to have a real alternative to life on the streets.

Local Support, Global Impact


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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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