Ensuring all children have a safe, stable, and nurturing environment is an important goal for public health in India. Adverse childhood experiences threaten the development of a child by undermining his/her sense of safety, security and nurture. CCDT Railway Childline is an initiative to ensure the care, protection, and well-being of run-away, unaccompanied and trafficked children who come in contact with the railways.
CCDT Childline team achieved another milestone when the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative (APPI) supported an initiative for children in contact with Railway Stations. On August 10th, CCDT Railway Childline along with Child India Foundation and Child Welfare Committee inaugurated this programme. The objective of this APPI Model is to strengthen the existing service in Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai.
“This initiative will provide us with more resources to work efficiently for the rights of children,” says Poonam D’souza, Director-Programmes, CCDT.
A large number of children come in contact with Indian Railways as abandoned, trafficked, homeless and run-away from their homes. Every five minutes a child arrives alone on a platform somewhere in India. Data indicates more children access the railway network than any other form of transport. It is therefore, important to strengthen the existing child protection mechanisms at railway stations.
“India has the largest Childline network in the world,” said Sukhendu. Children end up on railway platforms seeking to escape poverty, abuse, poor performance on an exam, or because of reprimands at home. APPI will not only work for the open shelter but also at homes, and will help to provide care and support in a fruitful way.
With the presence of the Child Welfare Committee Members and GRP Representatives the event was very special. “We all need to work as a team to protect the children. The safety of children is a concern for everyone, the responsibility doesn’t belong to any certain department. We all have to take care,” says Ghorpade Vidhyadhar, GRP Inspector.
There is a need to protect the children who have run away from abusive situations at home, or are lost and reach railway platforms, as they are extremely vulnerable from abuse by strangers. The event ended with a positive note to safeguard the rights of children with collective efforts.