As an organisation tackling a huge issue in a vast country, Railway Children cannot reach every child who needs our help by ourselves. It is possible to reach many more children if their local communities perceive them as vulnerable and in need of help rather than as a nuisance, and are actively engaged and enthusiastic about making a difference to them. Railway Children works at community level to challenge and change the perceptions of communities towards children living on the platforms, recruit their help to prevent children from running away in the first place and to notice and assist those who do.
To help communities to deal with the problems and issues that lead to children running away in the first place, Railway Children set up Child Protection Committees in 23 high-risk districts. These are volunteer-run initiatives that engage and involve communities with child welfare and child protection issues in their village. They enable communities to make use of government funding for child protection in their local area and to deal with and take ownership of issues that affect their children. They also provide a vital link to statutory services.
Making stations safer
By combining a number of initiatives, Railway Children created five Child Friendly Stations, through outreach work and by educating the various groups of people who work on and around the platforms about how their contribution is vital to keeping children safe and how they can help. Railway Children teaches station communities – staff, vendors, the Railway Protection Force, and the police – how to identify and help children who are alone and at risk.