Child Friendly Railway Stations in India
A Child Friendly Station ensures every child arriving alone is taken to safety by an outreach worker and a long-term solution is found. A network of protection is formed for runaways, orphans and abandoned children consisting of newly-trained railway staff, police, vendors and passengers
June 2014 - June 2017
Every 5 minutes a child arrives alone at one of India’s train stations, some having travelled vast distances in search of work, food or simply because they are lost. The platforms are hostile, dangerous places for young children with no proper services for them to get basic help or protection. They are easy prey to traffickers and pimps. Railway Police are not trained and treat the children as a nuisance to be beaten and moved on rather than vulnerable and in need of care and protection
Recognising the serious need for urgent action, Railway Children with our local partners have so far made 5 stations ‘child-friendly’ but more are needed. Any child alone at a child-friendly station is immediately protected from risk. Railway Police and Protection Forces, vendors and older street children are trained to protect children taking them to a child-protection booth manned 24/7 and then onto a safe shelter, food, basic medical care and reintegrated to family or other long-term care
We aim to directly support 27000 children through a protection network at all stations where we work
Activities» Our outreach workers will actively look for vulnerable children at stations and take them to a place of safety.
» We will sensitise the Railway Protection Force so that they can identify and respond to children alone and at risk.
» Our partners will teach police, vendors, porters and railway staff how to protect and support children and access safety
» We will influence railway divisional authorities, to form child protection committees at the station level, preventing and addressing child protection
Children arriving alone and at risk at stations will no longer spend time vulnerable to abuse and exploitation thanks to the child-friendly environment
We aim to set up a Child Protection Booth on the stations where we work with our partners
Activities» We will make the booths recognisable places where children can go to receive help, advice and protection
» The booths will be brightly coloured, manned by outreach workers 24/7 and information about them will be clearly visible throughout the stations.
» At the Child Protection Booth children will be registered and details recorded by newly trained police
» Awareness of these will be raised with passengers through announcements, posters and leaflets
Through increased referrals by members of the public to the booths children will be protected and access opportunities
To reintegrate at least 25% of children with families and find long-term solutions for the others
Activities» Children will be referred to one of our partner’s shelters or other place of safety
» They will be given basic needs, counselling and a place to stay with access to education
» Where possible they will be reintegrated with family or if more appropriate provided with another long-term care solution
» For those reintegrated, there will be a follow-up plan with their family and support with education if necessary
Children at risk of migrating and those returned home will be retained within a family environment and in school
Train the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) to deal with children in a child friendly way
Activities» We will replicate our successful project in Delhi which supported over 1000 children in 18 months
» We will introduce male and female social workers to work alongside SJPU officers sensitising them and advising on child rights
» Officers will deal with children in a way that recognises their vulnerabilities and ensures they are not treated the same as an adult offender
Children at conflict with the law will be dealt with in a sensitive way and able to continue their studies while their cases are heard
We will innovate and closely monitor the impact evidence of our work (particularly with government) and demonstrate through reports, research publications and conferences. Our research publication on one key street children issue will promote proactive government practices to strengthen families and prevent the migration of children. Our newsletter, a documentary film and posters on street children issue will ensure this issue gains public importance and becomes a priority for the government
There is a risk that children will not be able to return to their families. In this case children will be referred to longer term care. In addition, there is a risk that children or parents will not be able to engage with rehabilitation due to stigma or emotional, psychological or mental health issues but this will be mitigated through counselling and the skill of project staff to engage them in the process.
Our partners submit quarterly progress reports and biannual project visits are made. We engage with partners and beneficiaries through technical support workshops and training. Our website includes regular updates and blogs. We also communicate with our donors through e-newsletters
Budget - Project Cost: £517,836Loading graph....
Amount Heading Description £44,993 Child friendly stations Transforming stations into protective safe environments over 3 years £132,856 Collaboration Joint long-term work with Railways, Ministry of Women & Child Development £43,861 Training For Railway Protection Force £54,551 SJPU Project Training and community protection work with State Juvenile Police Unit £61,889 Capacity Building & Advocacy For Railway Children partners over 3 years and advocacy in 4 regions £72,249 Office expenses Office expenses fdor RC India in Mumbai and Delhi over 3 years £58,917 M & E Monitoring and Evaluation over 3 years £48,520 Staff costs Staff training and expenses
The project will take place across the railway stations in 8 states in India where we work with 15 partners. Over 12 million children live on the streets and railway platforms of India, with an estimated 120,000 more arriving on platforms every year. In simple terms, a child arrives alone on a railway platform every five minutes. They have run away from abuse, violence and poverty at home, using India's extensive railway network to get to the cities.
We will work with 15 partners and directly support 27,000 children to access safety, rehabilitation and education and be reintegrated with their families or access long-term care solutions.
We will work intensively with the Railway Protection Force, the Ministry of Railways and the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) to reach over 785,250 children.
Railway Children believes in a world where no child ever has to live on the streets. Since we were first registered as a charity in 1996 we have become leaders working in child protection. Our practitioners add value by working alongside grassroots partners in India, Kenya, Tanzania and the UK, helping some of the world’s most vulnerable and hardest to reach children. We find solutions that not only help children in the immediate short term, but give them long term life-changing opportunities
Read more about the Charity running this project.
Railway Children India
RCI has worked in India since 1996 reaching out to and supporting over 8000 vulnerable children alone and at risk on railway platforms every year.
15 Local Partners
We work side by side with grassroots partners in India to ensure we have the best local knowledge and expertise