Project information

Support & Reintegrate Street Children in Ethiopia

Retrak’s vision is of a world where no child is forced to live on the street, where they face vulnerability, exclusion & poverty. We offer vital support to children in crises at our transition centres, before working to return children back to a safe, sustainable and loving family setting.

April 2017 - October 2017

Charity information

Retrak - Inspiring Street Children

Retrak - Inspiring Street Children logo
  • Need


    There are currently an estimated 11,000 children forced to live on the streets in Addis Ababa, due to poverty and the breakdown of family relationships. Ethiopia currently faces its worst drought in 50 years, pushing even more children to the street out of desperation. On arrival, many suffer from malnourishment, abuse and rape. Behavioural problems begin to form out of a need to survive. Without access to education and a dire lack of social services, the suffering they face is unimagianble.


    Retrak works tirelessly in Addis Ababa to provide children living on the streets with food, temporary shelter & accommodation, catch up education, medicines and medical treatment, vocational training, counselling, family tracing, supported reunification with families, income generation activities and follow-up care. We also provide support and help to the families and carers of the children in order to address the root causes that led them to the streets in the first place.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Reduce the number of children forced to live on the street, providing them with a real alternative.


    » Street Outreach: Workers in contact with street children build on relationships & invite those who want to move off the street to our Drop-In Centre
    » Support/Preparation for Reintegration with nutritious food, over-night stays, healthcare, life-skills training, catch-up schooling & counselling

    The more children we support at our centre, the fewer there are subject to life on the street without hope. The number of children using our services will be measured.

    Aim 2

    Strengthen vulnerable families with positive actions


    » Supporting caregivers with training to promote healthy family environments. Create 'self help' income-generating activities to combat family poverty.

    Demonstrated by the families we counsel & reintegrate, the 'take-up' of our self-help group and the child's feedback on whether their parents become kinder to them, many do.

    Aim 3

    Reintergrate street children in a safe living environment


    » Family Reintegration: Tracing /returning children to safe families, communities or foster care. Follow-ups ensure this remains in the child's interest

    Our unique family tracing service enables us to return children home or alternatively into foster care. We undergo follow up visits to ensure their continued safety & wellbeing.

    Aim 4

    Give street children a voice


    » This aim underpins all Retrak does & is part of our strategy. We listen & engage with street children to change our policy & practice in their favour

    We continue produce landmark research to bring the plight of street children in Ethiopia and further afield onto the international agenda.

  • Impact


    Retrak’s Addis team address the root causes of problems which push children onto the streets and work with their families too. We also offer sustainable alternatives to a life on the street through our education and business development initiatives. We use the Child Status Index (CSI) to measure improvements in key domains of well being of beneficiaries: nutrition, shelter, protection, health, mental health, education & the increased number of children accessing our services.


    Once traced, some families are unwilling or unable to accept a beneficiary back into their home. To ensure equal access to a better future, Retrak pioneered a unique fostering programme to mitigate this risk.


    We will report on our success at the end of the appeal period and quarterly over the project period through narrative reports with project data.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £100,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £49,744 Transition Centre Activities Transition centre support; social worker, teacher
      £8,364 Education and Skills Training Providing catchup numeracy, literacy and arts classes in addition to vocational training.
      £9,857 Medical Care Providing a Nurse, medication and follow up care
      £32,035 Reintegration and Follow up Reintegrate children into safe family, community or foster care settings. Social workers follow up.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Australian Embassy £16,333 Guaranteed
    IMF £6,600 Guaranteed
    Henry E. Niles Foundation £3,300 Guaranteed
    Small trusts £10,000 Guaranteed
    Oak Foundation £25,000 Guaranteed
    European Commission £20,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    There are 11,000 street children in Addis Ababa, with HIV/AIDS. Begging is rife, many children work to escape poverty. It has been estimated that 40 per cent of children start work before the age of six, often working a 30-hour week. Child prostitution is growing at an alarming rate, with children being lured into the city and thrust into the sex trade. Intervention in Addis Ababa is a matter of urgency.


    The direct beneficiaries are the street children in Addis Ababa who will be supported and reintegrated with their families in rural Ethiopia. The caregivers are also direct beneficiaries. The indirect beneficiaries are the siblings of the street children. Retrak recently opened Deborah House, a new girls only Transition Centre in Addis Ababa. Here our team responds to their individual emotional and behavioural needs, largely developed as a result of being subject to sexual violence

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Retrak is one of very few agencies in Ethiopia that prioritises full-time street children (rather than those who work on the streets by day and return to their home at night). There is no other agency who works to transform the lives of both street boys and girls in Addis Ababa. We are further the only organisation to focus on family setting reintegration, as we believe this is the best environment from which a child can sustainably rebuild their confidence, relationships and future prospects.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Country Director - Lynn Kay

    Lynn Kay is the overall director of the Retrak programme in Ethiopia overseeing all staff and projects. Lynn is the key to our success in Ethiopia.

    Centre Manager - Gemechu Terfassa

    Gemechu manages drop-in centre activities including security, feeding, medical, education, sports/recreation, life-skills, counselling, social work.

    Community Project Manager - Yilma Gebre

    Yilma manages the project activities in relation to family groups, self help groups, child well being clubs and educational workshops

    Nurse - Ruth Tafesse

    Supports the medical needs of the children, high HIV/Aids awareness whose role is to stabilise and improve the children's health while in the centre

Retrak: They're just children


Can pay school fees for a term

The [Retrak] teaching made me realise how I abandoned my son [in] an uncertain situation

Self Help Group member