The microprojects would sponsor street boys in Uganda to learn agricultural skills, enabling them to return to their home villages and contribute to the wellbeing of their families, decreasing the likelihood that they will return to the streets. Boys stay at Retrak’s transitional home and training farm - Tudabujja, which means “we are being made new”. It provides children with space to adjust from street life to family life and teaches them the basic skills required for farming in their home environment. The boys receive theory lessons and actively participate in working the farm, which includes a wide range of livestock and crops. Providing children with this period away from the streets in a family environment helps them to work through psychological trauma, develop a positive outlook for the future and learn valuable skills on the farm and in the classroom, ensuring that when they return to family and community life, they will adapt and settle more easily.
For many of the children that come into contact with Retrak, the only other alternative to street life is institutional care, which is costly and creates dependency. Reintegration via Tudabujja has proved successful as it creates a mutually beneficial and sustainable environment for the child, family and community. Furthermore, the skills that children gain at Tudabujja enable them to make sustainable contributions to their own and their family’s wellbeing.
Although, Retrak has witnessed success at Tudabujja over the years, there are still 10,000 children living on the streets in Kampala. As such, Retrak must continue to provide vital services for these children. To achieve this we need support from sources such as Microsoft’s Give for Youth Platform.
Retrak strongly believes that children should be based in a family environment. Thus, funding through the Give for Youth platform would allow Retrak to work towards its vision of a world where no child is forced to live on the streets.
Retrak is committed to the belief that every child is unique, and that the best place for a child to grow and develop is with a family. This innovative approach differs from other interventions for street children since there is a commonly held belief that street children are not able to return to family-based care or become productive members of society. Our model acknowledges that the path away from street life is complex and can be prolonged and irregular. The key is to work with children and families to ensure that the problems that caused them to run away are addressed. Retrak has started community prevention programs to build the capacity of families and communities to protect children and prevent vulnerable children being pushed to the street. In addition, Retrak introduced an innovative foster care program for street children in Uganda, which recognizes the importance of family and that recruits and trains potential foster carers in the event that a child to be fostered.
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