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Retrak honoured for community project in Ethiopia

Retrak has been awarded a special certificate of recognition from the Mayor of Gimbicho, a town in Ethiopia, in honour of its project work in the local community. The award was presented to Retrak on 20th September 2013 for a sports event organised over the summer by Ruth Aschalew, one of the Community Development Workers (CDWs).

“Retrak has helped these children stay with their family,and teach, counsel and educate them with the problems they will encounter when they leave home,” the Mayor said.

Summer often draws children from surrounding rural areas to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, as they look for work during the long vacation. Addis is a bustling, teeming city, home to an estimated 11,000 street children. To engage children in the surrounding communities and educate them about the dangers of making this journey to live and work on the streets, Ruth organised a four-week football competition. It was hosted by Retrak, with full support from local officials and Cordaid, a Dutch development organisation. Children aged between 7-15 years and highly vulnerable to trafficking or urban migration took part in the programme.

The project is part of a partnership, now in its second year, between Retrak and Cordaid. It is focused primarily on reintegrating children from the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) back into their families. Many of these children make the 200-mile journey from the SNNPR to live and work on the streets of Addis. The project addresses the reasons that push children to live on the street whilst promoting child protection rights in local schools.

Back to School

With the summer vacation now over, children are forming and leading school committees that raise awareness for their rights to protection. They engage people in direct action by holding community events and campaigns, while families are supported by CDWs. Together they work to provide sufficient levels of care, education and training for vulnerable children.

“Greater awareness for the rights that children have to adequate protection is essential to empowering the local community to act in their best interests,” said Lynn Kay, Retrak’s Country Director in Ethiopia.“This award shows that the community is engaged and willing to shoulder the responsibilities that come with caring for children.”

During the first year of the project, 58 children were reintegrated in the SNNPR, with 12 self-help groups also established in Hossana, a local area. A further 8 workshops were held in the community, providing training in healthy parenting and child protection. On top of services that provide for the children’s most basic needs, which benefit overall well-being, these community-run projects address long-term issues in an open and participatory way.

Retrak is committed to prevention and provision, two sides of the same coin that work in tandem to fulfill our vision of a world in which no child is forced to live on the street.

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Yilma Gebre, Retrak’s community project manager, holds the certificate awarded by the mayor of Gimbicho. The certificate reads: “Gimbicho municipality would like to offer this award certificate for Retrak’s hard work in supporting the children and community in our woreda.”