Madi was seven years old when his parents separated and he went to live with his father. At age nine he left home in search of his mother, and began his life as a street child in Kampala. Two years later, he found his way to Retrak and began a journey that took him to Tudabujja, Retrak's Halfway Home and Farm, and eventually brought him back home. Here's his story in his own words:
"I heard a rumor that my mother had gone to Kampala so I decided to run away to Kampala to look for her. I was only 9 years old and had no money for transport or understanding of the distances involved. It took me four days and four nights to reach a suburb of Kampala. Here I met Emmanuel, a street child who showed me where other street children slept.
"I spent two weeks with Emmanuel who taught me how to scavenge scrap and plastic bottles to earn money and how to survive. Life on the streets was harder than what I had run away from. We had to steal to eat and the police and public were all against us. We were wanted, abused and called thieves. I learned bad habits on the streets such as stealing drugs, swearing and eating from garbage. I became arrogant, hard-hearted, fearless, aggressive and disrespectful."
Other children told Madi about Retrak, and he decided to take his first step towards a new life:
"The staff at Retrak was welcoming and offered us services such as food, classes and counseling. After spending time at Retrak's drop-in center, I moved to Tudabujja. I received more counseling, care and love, and this helped me to stop being aggressive and relate well to others. I was able to receive education and I began to really want to return home.
"I traveled with a Retrak social worker to my old home and when I got there I knelt down and cried. Retrak worked with my father and aunt to ensure that I would be accepted and safe. When I heard that, it was like a dream. God had answered my prayers. I thank Retrak for the love, care, patience and counseling it has given me. I now have hope for a better future."
Just as Madi is thankful to Retrak, we at Retrak are thankful to you for your support, without which our work with street children would not be possible. Please consider signing up for a recurring donation to ensure that our work can continue.