Project information

Helping Girls Swap the Streets for Safety

Girls on the streets in Africa and India are often not visible because they are grabbed off the streets and sold to strangers. They are forced into marriage or child labour. In the UK, they could be lured by sexual predators - never seen again. Railway Children work to make them safe.

June 2017 - May 2022

Charity information: Railway Children

Railway Children logo
  • Need


    Every year thousands of children across India, Africa and the UK run away or are forced to leave homes that have become unbearable through poverty, abuse, violence and neglect. Reaching a child as soon as possible is crucial before an abuser can. Girls specifically are in danger. They are grabbed off the streets and sold to strangers before we can reach them. They are forced into marriage or child labour. They are lured by sexual predators and sometimes never seen again. We must stop this.


    We must try and reach them before an abuser gets to them. We have outreach workers and trained staff looking for vulnerable children. We work with partners on the ground to be our eyes and ears. Overseas when we find them we offer a safe place to stay and provide them with counselling, support to open up and help us solve the problems that made them run away. In the UK we work with families and communities and support longer term to ensure they don't run away again and have a positive future.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Increase the number of children we reach and deliver services that improve their life chances


    » Outreach work to find and protect children alone and at risk on the streets.
    » Provide project workers to deliver therapeutic practices that recognise the level of trauma a child has experienced.
    » Restore a child with their family whenever possible or to a place of safety, providing ongoing support so they don't run away again.

    What success will look like

    We will have delivered quality services to 27,000 children across 12 cities in East Africa, reached at least 120,000 children in India & provided 2,870 UK children with support.

    Aim 2

    Change people's perceptions of children on the streets to reduce the level of harm they face.


    » Work with communities to help them recognise their role in protecting vulnerable children
    » Work with transport stakeholders to increase their awareness and improve the way they respond to vulnerable children

    What success will look like

    Reduced levels of violence towards street children in the East African cities we work in by 50%. Educated UK rail passengers & the Rail Industry to safeguard vulnerable children.

    Aim 3

    Build political will around the issues of children living on the streets


    » Influence government policies and budgets to include the needs of children living on the streets
    » Advise and assist on the issues that affect children on the streets and help communities implement and enforce existing laws and policies

    What success will look like

    We will have worked with India & EA governments on protecting and reintegrating children. Worked with UK Dept of Transport to actively promote safeguarding across the rail network

  • Impact


    The 2nd and 3rd aims should deliver longer term benefits in terms of changing societal beliefs and behaviours. Getting to the root of the problems should reduce the number of children running away in the first place. However, further to this we plan to develop replicable models of our work and offer these to new regions where the issues and context prove to be compatible. Thus enabling our approach to reach more children.


    This project is to support our 5 year strategy of work already proven to be effective in reaching vulnerable children on the streets.
    However there are always risks in delivering work in developing countries due to political unrest or environmental disasters such as flood or drought.
    There may be risks as we expand and take on new partners however all new partners undergo due diligence and must adhere to tight reporting schedules.


    Partners are required to provide monthly finance reports and quarterly narrative reports. We will feedback on how much the appeal has raised and how many children have been helped. We will also provide them with case studies of children reached across all countries of our work.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £100,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £23,000 Outreach Street workers
      £29,000 Shelter Running short term homes
      £46,000 Reintegration Family work, theraputic
      £2,000 Influencing and awareness Raising awareness in communities and lobbying government
  • Background


    Over the next 5 years we have plans in India to work in 25 Railway Stations where we know many children arrive alone. In East Africa we aim to work in 12 major cities in Tanzania and Kenya where our headcount survey show these to have high numbers. In the UK we have plans to set up 6 projects located across the country providing support to children referred to us by the British Transport police.


    Children living and working on the streets of East Africa and India and those who have run away in the UK and are using the transport system. Children and families will benefit from our long term support. We will also support communities and all those who work with these children on a daily basis to address the causes of why they run away in the first place.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been supporting children at risk on the streets for over 22 years helping over 300,000 children worldwide. Our partnership with the Rail Industry has helped us to deliver this work. Our methods are proven to be effective in making a positive impact on children, their families and local communities. Eg. in Kenya our family intensive work has reduced the number of children from 50% to 10% running away again. This work is now being rolled out across our work in Tanzania and the UK.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Pauline Medovnikov

    Trusts and Grants Manager. She is responsible for ensuring the aims are met. She will liaise with the finance teams in each region.

    Navin Sellaraju

    Director, Railway Children India

    Pete Kent

    East Africa Regional Director

    Gaynor Little

    Head of UK Programmes