In collaboration with the Indian Railway, the RCI team is working to ensure a smooth journey for children and their families.
Published on December 20, 2020 at 7:51 am
Updated on March 20, 2021 at 06:50 am
The coming of the Coronavirus was unforeseen, but our immediate instincts allowed us to act on time. We reached 7,239 children and their families in distress, providing the essentials, groceries and psycho-social help to 3,643 children’s families in the past 2 months and would continue to do so daily. The RCI team had reached out directly and in collaboration with NGO partners across 7 states to support families and their children in distress.
Additionally, as migrants and their children started to board trains, new challenges began to unfold, making them more vulnerable on train journeys to home. We collaborated with the Railway Protection Force and respective district administration to ensure children and their families have safe journeys to home. Actively taking on relief work at railway stations in the Delhi/NCR region, we distributed 14,968 water bottles, 1,750 dozen bananas, 13,500 biscuit packets and 950 ORS packets, providing food and water to over 2,906 children and 10,247 adults who boarded 13 trains (10 Shramik and 3 other special trains) from Ghaziabad to Howrah and Patna, another train from Anand Vihar to Purnia and trains from Old Delhi to Ranchi, Darbhanga, Dibrugarh (Assam), Varanasi, Deoria (UP), Bhagalpur, Jay Nagar and Dimapur (Nagaland).
Talking about the Post-COVID-19 strategy, S Navin Sellaraju, CEO, Railway Children India (RCI), said, “Our work will not end until every child is safe and protected. While we will remain focused on reaching out to vulnerable children and their families at railway stations and provide basic groceries and essentials to them, the long-term goal is to streamline preventive child protection work in communities so that families and community members are empowered and equipped to take care of children even in a crisis. Another key component of our post-COVID strategy is to ensure sustained psycho-social help to children to ensure their mental well-being.”
‘My heart breaks when I see my grandson hungry’
Twelve-year-old Sonu’s (name changed) father passed away a few years ago, changing his life dramatically. Unable to raise him as a single parent, his mother handed him over to his paternal grandmother. She remarried, and started a new life, without him, in a distant village.
Sonu’s grandmother worked hard at a home in the neighbourhood as a domestic worker to provide two meals to Sonu each day. The lockdown meant she couldn’t go to work and couldn’t bring food to the table. Without any savings, she was distraught at not being able to feed her grandson.
“I am getting old. My daughter-in-law left the family after my son died. I thought I would raise my grandson on my own, but this lockdown has destroyed all my hopes. Whenever I see my grandson hungry, my heart aches,” says Sonu’s grandmother to the team member who reached out to her.
Railway Children immediately linked the grandmother to the local grocery store and arranged for all their essentials required.
“I had no idea that Railway Children India would come forward to help me when my loved ones left me in the face of this crisis. But somewhere I believed that God would find help for me. After the kind and humble gesture by your team, my faith in God is even stronger,” she says filled with emotion and with utmost gratitude.
Railway Children India’s work is focused on preventing children from slipping into a life on the street by establishing efficient child protection services at railway stations that ensure children are restored with their families or long-term care home, enrolled into school and ensuring that immediate care reaches every child who arrives at the railway stations.