World news story

High Commissioner visits street children’s drop-in centre

UK officials tour RETRAK Uganda facility and donate funds to help change street children’s lives

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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British High Commissioner, Her Excellency Alison Blackburne hands over the donation from UK mission staff to Ms Florence Soyekwo, Retrak acting Country Director.

On 17 July, British High Commissioner Alison Blackburne paid a visit to a street children’s drop-in centre operated by RETRAK Uganda, a British-based charity, in the Mengo area of Kampala. Together with the Deputy High Commissioner, Mary Shockledge, and other High Commission officials, she saw at first hand the work that RETRAK is doing with street children in Uganda. The High Commissioner also took the opportunity to talk to street children in the centre.

During the visit, the High Commissioner took the opportunity to hand over 2,000,000 UGX (more than £500) to RETRAK. This money was donated by members of staff at the British High Commission, at events including a Sport Relief Mile run and walk which they organised in March. Sport Relief is an annual event organised by Comic Relief, a UK charity that brings together the worlds of sport and entertainment, to raise money for vulnerable children both in the UK and around the world. They have supported a number of initiatives in Uganda over the last 12 years, and provided funding to RETRAK. British High Commission staff also raised money by organising a raffle and sale at the end of the run, and a quiz later in the year.

This fundraising was the latest event in a programme of assistance that the UK has developed with RETRAK, including through the Department for International Development (DFID). DFID helped to raise £375,432 for RETRAK through its ‘aid match’ scheme in 2012, and also donated over £49,000 this year. Another element in this programme is the partnership between RETRAK and Greater Manchester Police, which, for the fourth year running, has held fundraising events in the UK and organised volunteer visits by police officers to the East African countries in which RETRAK works, to help with projects and carry out training.

The High Commissioner’s visit came at a time when the plight of street children in Uganda was in the news headlines, following the release of research findings into this important area. She was also able to meet dental volunteers from the UK charity Dentaid, who were providing free dental treatment to the children at the centre.

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Some of the street children who are temporarily resident at the Retrak drop-in centre entertain the guests
Published 18 July 2014