Retrak, AVSI & USAID Change Lives in Uganda

Retrak Uganda have been working with AVSI  through their SCORE project funded by USAID (Sustainable Response for improving the lives of vulnerable children and their household’s) since 2011 to help expand its work with street children across Uganda. The project was designed to contribute to an overall reduction in child poverty and reduce the numbers of Ugandan families that are living on or below the poverty line (those living on less than $1.25 a day).

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So far SCORE is delivering on its promises. By the end of the second year, the programme had achieved and surpassed all of its targets. Furthermore, it had also achieved a significant decrease invulnerability of the people it was aiming to help.

Funding from AVSI  has allowed Retrak to provide key services to vulnerable children living on the street, helping them return to a life within a safe family environment. These services include providing Street Outreach programmes; legal advice and support; provision of food and shelter.

Services like these are crucial for children like Issac,who found himself on the streets aged 10.The youngest of three children, his father passed away when he was just five months old, leaving his mother responsible for raising three children single handedly. Soon the burden became too much for her. Isaac and his siblings went to live with extended family but were abused there, and Isaac soon ran away to the streets to find his mother.

“I thought that finding my mother would be easy. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did not know where she lived and Kampala was so vast and intimidating that I soon began to lose hope. This marked the beginning of life on the streets, the endless of days of living hand to mouth with nowhere else to turn.

One day an Outreach Worker found me and told me about Retrak. When I arrived at the centre the welcome I got was unimaginable. In addition to the free food and shelter Retrak provided, there were also cleaning facilities, a learning centre and a clinic where the sick are treated, plus lots of games and football sessions.

After one month stay at Retrak’s transition centre the social worker and I went to visit my grandmother’s house, but unfortunately we found out she had passed away months ago. I was very sad and to make matters worse, my two older brothers were nowhere to be found.

However two weeks later, the social worker at the centre called me to tell me that they had managed to relocate my mother.I was so happy I could not believe it. After all the seven years without a glimpse on her! To this day I will never forget the moment we were reunited. I can still the remember the tears of joy rolling down her face as we embraced.”

In August 2013, Isaac was reunited with his mother and is now settled in environment where feels safe and is loved and respected. Retrak will also conduct follow-up assessments to ensure long lasting success and stability of this arrangement.

Thanks to AVSI, Retrak is able to continue working closely with children like Issac, giving them a real alternative to life on the streets. The services and care Issac received at Retrak changed his life and will no doubt will continue to help many other children living on the streets of Kampala.