At the end of last year Railway Children joined forces with Hollywood movie producers to be a charity partner for the film Lion. Little did we know then just how much impact that relationship would have on our work in India.
The true story of little Saroo Brierley, who got lost at a railway station aged five, has touched audiences around the world – and many of those people have been moved to support us.
To date we have received a surge in donations, totalling £110,000 already, and coming from all corners of the globe.
The real impact of Lion
This will make a huge difference to our projects at railways stations in India and the children they protect. Over the next five years we plan to create 25 Child Friendly Stations where rail communities will be trained to look out for and intercept children at risk.
Those who have run away, those who have been abandoned, those who are seeking shelter and those, like Saroo, who simply get lost.
It costs us around £37,000 to transform a bustling, chaotic Indian station into a child friendly space – the money we expect Lion to bring us could be used to fund at least another three.
The film, which so accurately portrays the issues we are tackling in India, took home two BAFTAs in February and received critical acclaim, going on to gain six Oscar nominations.
The movie certainly won the hearts of millions and many of them have seen Railway Children as the tangible response to their emotion.
Spreading our message
Our website has seen an almost 200 per cent increase in visitors over the period of the film’s release so Lion has helped us spread the word about the problems faced by street children and what we are doing to help more than we ever could have imagined.
As a team, the association with Lion has made us proud and reinforced the importance of what we are doing. It has made us even more determined to keep on fighting for these children.
Long after the bright lights have faded and the red carpets have been rolled up, the Lion effect will continue to be felt across our projects protecting children in India.
What people had to say about the film on Twitter:
An absolutely amazing film. Will be doing my bit for @RailwayChildren, I am so inspired.
Lion is currently available to pre-order on DVD.