Children running away from abuse, violence and poverty use India's extensive railway network to get to the cities, where they hope to find a better life. Thousands of children arrive at India’s vast, chaotic railway stations and find themselves lost, alone and scared, with no idea where to go or what to do. Their dreams brutally shattered, they end up living on the platforms.

Over 11 million children live on the streets of India. 

India Key Message

Our approach to the issue

We believe that no child should ever be forced to live alone and at risk on a railway platform. We want to be able to reach as many children as possible and make a real, lasting difference to their lives. We believe that the more people who help us, the greater the impact we can have, and the more effective our work will be in helping children stay safe.

We work at three levels:

India impact

1. Street Level

At street level we strive to meet the immediate needs of children at risk on the streets and platforms of India today. We have created a number of ‘child friendly stations’ with the help and engagement of the people who work at them, who now look out for and help children alone and at risk.

With their involvement, we can help more children than we could by ourselves. Our outreach workers spend time with children, gaining their trust and providing someone to talk to and a safe place to stay, while we work out the best long-term solution for their individual circumstances. We provide child protection booths on platforms and drop-in centres nearby. Where possible, we work to reunite children with their families. 

More Street Level work

2. Community Level

At community level we work to make children on the streets visible to society and to help people understand the issues that cause children to run away and that face them on the streets and on the platforms. We invest time and skills in preventative intervention, with the aim of creating ‘safety nets’ within communities to catch children who are at risk of running away before they do so.

More Community Level work

3. Government Level

At government level we work to persuade policy makers that children living on the streets should be higher on India’s political agenda and that government policies should provide greater protection and opportunity for them.  

By working with the government, we can amplify our changes to affect all children, creating a greater impact. We also work in an advisory capacity to improve conditions of care and protection in India’s government-run children’s home.

More Government Level work