Retrak visit to Zimbabwe
Retrak’s Director of International Development, Maggie Crewes, visted Zimbabwe to see how Retrak could help the reported 15,000 children living on the streets there.
In a ten-day visit, Maggie met with local organisations, government ministries and child welfare departments and the information will provide Retrak the ability to plan a way forward in Zimbabwe’s ever-worsening economic environment.
Businesses are closing at a rate of 300 – 400 per quarter, unemployment and under-employment are soaring and increasing fees for attendance at school means many more families are struggling to cope. Add into the mix the pressure of a parental death or separation, plus other social problems, and the scene is set for more children moving to the streets to live. Many people Maggie spoke to are worried that there will also be food shortages into 2015 because the rainy season stopped after only two months. Already there are crops wilting due to insufficient moisture.
Pictured below are two members of staff from the ‘House of Smiles’: a day-time drop-in centre in the CBD of Harare. Supported by the Italian NGO CESVI, children can access basic services such as a hot lunch, soap, clothing, emergency medical care, some catch-up lessons and a simple listening ear. Staff then collaborate with the Child Welfare department who manage the case and attempt to trace the family and return the children home. House of Smiles, despite the name, are struggling to provide adequate services and need support, training, and more funds to help get children home.
Many large donors hold back from Zimbabwe due to uncertainties around the current government and the worsening economic situation – but thousands of children are without any assistance in an extremely difficult situation where few organisations have the courage to enter. Will you help support Retrak so we can be BOLD and not shy away from the critical needs of these many highly vulnerable children? To support our ongoing work Donate Here