Erik’s Summer of Service

This past summer I worked in the Brussels office of Retrak, a charity that helps African street children in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. My main duties consisted of helping run several fundraisers in Brussels. The main event I worked on was a sleep-out event, in which we rented out a local British primary school for a weekend and invited several families from the Brussels area to participate. I helped the children build huts from cardboard boxes to sleep in for the night, so that they could learn more about the conditions of the African children, whom Retrak helps. I also helped the kids to play, and set up makeshift games, such as soccer with balls made out of newspapers. I also set up a giant plastic bag filled with empty plastic bottles for the children to jump in; this activity gave the children an experience of what it would be like if one had to sleep in there, similar to the experiences of many African children. I helped prepare and serve a dinner of rice, beans, and crackers, much like a typical meal that African children would eat. Finally, I supervised the children for the night, as they slept in their cardboard box “huts.” For the entire fundraiser, I also was the photographer. Overall, this event not only raised money for Retrak, but also gave the Belgian children and their families insights into the lives of many African children. It made me realize how important the work of Retrak is in helping these children.
During the rest of my time working with Retrak, I assisted in planning, publicizing, photographing, and running three other fundraisers at various soccer tournaments in Brussels, with competitions, raffles, and bake sales. In another part of my work, I researched and wrote up several case studies on success stories of children, whom Retrak has helped with food, medicine, housing, education, and social programs. My case studies have been used in Retrak’s publications and website. This work with Retrak has made me feel like I have made a difference by spreading awareness of the plight of many African children and by raising funds for Retrak’s programs.
Retrak Kids

Retrak Kids

Retrak Kids

2 thoughts on “Erik’s Summer of Service

  1. Erik,

    It sounds like you made a big contribution to this organization. I like the idea of a sleep out. Fundraising events should be fun, but its important for guests to remember why they are there. What a memorable way to demonstrate what life is like for African street children. Kudos for your efforts, and great photos too. I hope to see more!

  2. What a worthwhile project, Erik! I love the photos you took. I can see that the kids had fun and were completely involved in the event you worked so hard to set up for them. Fund-raising is a complex and important process for many organizations, and you now have an experience and a skill that you can build on to help this organization again in the future—or other organizations.

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