Fred, an 18-year-old former street child, is an inspirational example of how support from GlobalGiving and dedicated supporters can make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable children in Africa who have suffered terrible hardship. The resettlement of Fred is an experience that will stay for some time in Retrak's memory. Fred is from a village called Kalengela in the District of Mukono. He came to Retrak during 2008 but his stay was punctuated by a lot of disappearances. Fred was slow to open up and it took a lot of patience and many counseling sessions before he decided that he wanted to go home.
Moses, Retrak's social worker, recounts what happened when they reached Fred's village: "An elderly lady approached us from a smoke-filled kitchen. She welcomed us and greeted us as tradition dictates. I first observed the communication pattern between this lady and Fred. It was clear that there was something wrong. After listening to my introduction, the lady started narrating to me many stories about Fred and the challenges he had brought to her family. Because of his behavior the family had decided to disown him. It was discouraging to see such a barrier between the child and his family. But deep down in my heart I was with a feeling that since it took a lot of time for Fred to be willing to visit, I had to keep trying. It took about 2 1/2 hours of talking to help Fred's family realize that their son had changed and to look past the stereotype his family had built up. Finally the breakthrough came and Fred was reunited with his family."
Retrak knows that this reunification will still need a lot of support, so Moses and the other social workers will follow-up with Fred and his family both by phone and in person. If they keep moving forward together for the next three months, Retrak will help the family set up a small business to support themselves.
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