Project #2202

Rebuilding the lives of street children in Uganda

by Retrak America
Aug 26, 2011

Najja's Story

Nazza trying to find a safe place to sleep
Nazza trying to find a safe place to sleep

Najja lost both of his parents to HIV/AIDS when he was 12 years old. As his mum was weakened by the sickness, she thought it wise to take both Najja and his younger brother to stay with their aunty. Their auntie didn't have very much money as she also cared for her own children and their father was no longer around. 

Their grandmother would send money for their school tuition fees but their aunty needed to use it to pay for the family food. Soon the boys were made to leave school. Najja decided that if he ran away to Kampala he would be able to get a job and earn money for himself and his brother.

He spent a year in the city, living and working on the streets. He was often hungry and could only make a tiny bit of money collecting plastic bottles. He was scared to go home though as he knew he had been wrong to run away. At night time he was very scared and lonely. He was often kicked and beaten by adults who didn't think he should be sleeping on the streets.

One of Najja's friends told him about the Retrak centre and how he could have food and shelter there. He decided to go along and see if they could help him get a job. He wanted to be able to look after himself and his little brother.

Najja is now at Retrak Uganda's half way home Tudabujja. He has been having catch up lessons and is doing well at school. He gets on well with the other children at Tuda and works hard. He now wants to return to a family again who can look after him how he has been looked after at Tudabujja.

“I learnt how to do farming, and how to play foot ball. When I go back home I will miss all the mothers in Tudabujja plus the papa and all the other friends of mine."

Najja went to visit his auntie's home but the family was in a needy situation. She was delighted to see him and had been very worried about him. Najja was also able to see his little brother and was amazed at how much he had grown! Retrak saw that the Aunty would not be able to look after Najja as well as her other children.

Retrak got in touch with Najja's Grandmother and they went to visit her. She was amazed at how much he had changed while he had been away from home. She shouted to her neighbours to come and see him. They were amazed and wanted to know how Retrak had found him. The Retrak staff explained how Retrak works with street children and how Najja has come to them for help.

Najja is now living with his Grandmother and his little brother. They are both at school and are very happy being back together as a family. Najja hopes that he will be able to help street children when he is older. He prays that no child will be lonely and alone like he was and is thankful that he will never have to return to the streets thanks to the continued support from Retrak.

Thank you for supporting the work that Retrak do and enabling us to find children like Najja a real alternative to life on the streets.


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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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