Our railway project protects hundreds of children living by the dangerous tracks by providing both immediate support and long-term solutions so that they can stay safe.
During our previous railway project, the crime rate amongst the children had drastically dropped. With this project, we have exceeded our predicted outreach for the first year (300), with 345 children now accessing our Safe Space at the Station!
Choosing the project
Over 12 million children live on the streets of India, with an estimated 120, 000 more arriving on railway platforms every year. Put simply, a child arrives alone on a railway platform every 5 minutes!
Vast numbers of children running away from abuse, violence and poverty at home use India's extensive railway network to reach the cities. Ragged, hungry children begging for survival is such a common sight at India's major stations that it has become 'normal'. People no longer see these children. They have faded into the background and become invisible. Railway children are just another everyday feature of the railway platform - no more human than the trains or track.
What we do
Our project at Mallikpur station seeks to reach a child early, before an abuser can get to them. We help them in the short-term and long-term to make a real, lasting difference in each child's life. Here's how:
Our outreach workers spend time gaining the trust of the children by providing them with someone to talk to and a safe place to stay, while we work out the best long-term solution for their individual circumstances.
Our Safe Space provides children with access to educational support; counselling inputs; recreational activities; and programmes on Child Rights, through which they have formed their own Children's Group, Aalap.
We also work with agencies, local Primary and High schools and government bodies to raise awareness in communities through CINI, and with families and shelters to reunite children with their parents wherever possible!
Choosing the location
Mallikpur Station presents somewhat of a triple threat as it is a source, transit and destination area for human trafficking. Despite this, and before our involvement, the Station did not have sufficient protective services nor surveillance. Traffickers take advantage of this lack of security and plan to take the children to larger stations such as Sealdah or Howrah. The bus connections surrounding Mallikpur station also provide key routes through which trafficking from the source area is done.
By rescuing children at their source station we are reducing the amount of children going to Sealdah, which is the largest station in the area and also the most notorious hotspot for traffickers.
VITAL Trip- November 2018
On our most recent trip to Kolkata in November 2018, we proudly inaugurated our Child Help Desk on the station platform. This will serve as the first point of contact for reporting and enquiring about missing and/or trafficked children.
Our children LOVE the Safe Space, where they are helped with their homework, learn about Child Rights, and play with their friends!