Better Lives

News & Updates

Addis Ababa ET – Vocational training – 31 Dec 2012

In 2012, the private foundation that supports Better Lives administrative costs also helped support Retrak’s vocational training program for older street boys in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Retrak’s program supported 23 street children in vocational training over 12 months.  We are delighted to report that all 23 boys have graduated and found employment.  A wonderful success!  Thank you Retrak for all you have done to make this possible.Vocational training

The overall aim of the vocational training program is to enable children to meet their basic needs and gain education or vocational skills, to prepare them for future employment and for independent living as healthy, active and empowered citizens.  The program’s impact, challenges and highlights  in 2012 included:


  • Supported 23 children in vocational training over the year.
  • All 23 children have graduated from vocational training and have found suitable employment. Retrak supported these children until they completed the three months apprenticeship period and were economically and emotionally ready to live independently.
  • Retrak covered the cost of training requirements, including tools and equipment relating to their practical placements (often at local technical colleges or academies). Retrak also provided for the daily living expenses of each child. During their vocational training the 22 children lived at the Retrak night shelter in allocated rooms.
  • During vocational training a Retrak Social Worker had weekly meetings with each child.  Once they completed their training the social worker met monthly with each child to develop an exit strategy, and give them practical help in finding work (e.g. references, or funds to purchase equipment or work space) and accommodation.
  • A total of 23 children are now living independently.
  • In this period, Retrak developed a partnership with another NGO, Youth Impact, to provide mentors for children from Retrak who transitioned into independent living. The Retrak social worker provided training for 10 youth mentors who are each mentoring at least two youth from Retrak’s vocational training program. This is an important support to help the youth transition and integrate into the local community successfully. This mentoring will continue for a period of 12 months. Retrak is providing the mentors with an allowance for transport and refreshments. The mentoring agreement documents and recording sheets are attached.


  • The issues of addiction have continued to be challenging in this period. Retrak has provided the youth with additional counseling and support. In recognition of this ongoing issue, Retrak has engaged a consultant to provide training in the first quarter of 2013 for all the staff on addiction and its impact on youth. Additionally the social workers will have intensive training and support about specific counseling techniques for youth with addictions.
  • Finding suitable accommodation for the large number of youth moving to independent living has been a challenge especially as the cost of accommodation in Addis Ababa has increased significantly but we managed to achieve this for all the children who completed vocational training.


  • Developing a youth mentoring program has been an achievement.  We hope that this will support the youths to integrate into the community effectively.
  • The number of children who have completed vocational training, found employment and moved to independent living this year has been a highlight. This success has confirmed that our program of training, support and counseling is effective in helping street children leave life on the streets and transition to independent living.