In India, Railways form the biggest commutation facility. There is great number of street children and run away children who depend on the railway for sustenance. Every year a lot of children go missing. The reasons may be many. Many run away from their homes to escape abuse or after having an argument with their parents. The most common means of transportation used by the teenagers, are the trains.
CHILDLINE Help Desks were set up at railway stations as an institutional mechanism. Child Help Desks/kiosks/booths at railway stations were set up to provide immediate attention to children who are found unaccompanied by adults, and hence address the issue of runaways, children in difficult circumstances and missing or abandoned children in a systematic manner.
A partnership between Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Women and Child Development was formulated and other society partners came up with a common agenda to address vulnerability of children and prevent abuse. Child Help Desk is a 24 hour free emergency outreach service for children in distress found in railway station premises. This project is under the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Railways and Non-profits.
RCHDs in Kerala State
In Kerala, there are four Child Help Desks functioning in the A grade Railway stations such as Trivandrum, Ernakulam Jn., Thrissur and Kozhikode since 2018.
Ernakulam Railway Help Desk
Increasing financial and job opportunities in a developing city such as Kochi had led to growing incidents of child exploitation. Ernakulam Railway Help Desk is set up jointly by the District administration, Union Women and Child Welfare Department, Railways Ministry, and Sahrudaya Child Welfare Service. The District Collector is its patron. Every unaccompanied child who comes to Ernakulam Railway station is provided short stay facility, counselling and restoration/rehabilitation services through this project.
The Railway has allotted 360 sq.ft for setting up the facility. The desk, located on Platform 1, was inaugurated by the District Collector Muhammed Y Safirullah on Thursday, 07th June 2018 .Twelve persons are being trained and deployed in three shifts to make available the services round-the-clock.
The Railway CHILDLINE observed AIDS day on 1st December 2019 at South Railway Station. As part of this day’s observance, a signature campaign was conducted by Railway CHILDLINE. RCHD also exhibited the posters and awareness materials for passengers regarding the importance of AIDS day. December 1 is celebrated as World AIDS day every year; it gives an opportunity for the people to join the fight against HIV. The main motto behind celebrating this day is to raise public awareness about AIDS..
A training programme was organised for Police officers of Kadavanthra police station on CHILDLINE and its involvement in the society on 20th August 2019. The interactive sessions were handled by the team members of CHD on different aspects of case intervention and child friendly procedure to be followed while handling with a child in distress.
Railway Child Help Desk Ernakulam conducted a half-day Training Session on Child Protection mechanism& CHILDLINE activities for RPF on 21st October 2019 at Aluva Railway Station, Ernakulam. 25 RPF Officials attended the training. Nowadays, violence against children is on the rise. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each one to ensure childcare. CHILDLINE had taken an immediate step towards awareness creations on child protection. The Session was handled by RCHD Staff Mr. Roshan Santhosh and Mrs. Lissy Joseph addressed the importance of child protection.
Railway CHILDLINE Ernakulam organized a Signature Campaign against ‘Child Abuse’ at North Railway Station Ernakulam on 31st October 2019. Mr. Ajay Raj the Station Manager inaugurated the Campaign. The Campaign mainly intended to aware General Public about CHILDLINE activities as well as Child Rights. Besides RCHD staff also exhibited Posters regarding Child Abuse.
As part of 1st anniversary celebration of Railway CHILDLINE, A special train journey title as “ Dream Drive” was held on 7th June 2019 from South Eranakulam Station towards Allepey District with the active involvement of 92 differently abled children from PalluruthyAksha special school, Kumbalam Buds school, Kunammavuchavarasadhan in giving a relevant message to the society that those children are not kept aside instead giving them a helping hands for the uplift. The compartments of Alappuzha Executive Express (16308) were decorated with balloons and ribbons. The dream drive was flagged off by Railway area manager Mr. Nithin Norbert. The grand welcome was arranged atAllepey Station by CHILDLINE Allepey. The staffs and children of Santhwan special school arranged a royal walk to their institution. A group of Children with full of talents performed cultural programs which was really showcasing the talents of those children and also it was interactive session all together with lot of joy, happiness and experience. Throughout the journey in the train, CHILDLINE staffs entertained the group of children with the catching cartoon character costume dressed in making fun and love with them. The message which brought as outcome of this event was, those children are also part of this society, if developments occurs each sections of the society is considered.
Railway Child Help Desk Ernakulam conducted a 'Child Friendly Train Drive' on 16th November 2019 from South Railway Station Ernakulam to Aluva Railway Station. The Child Friendly Train Drive was started at 3.10 PM. Mr. Nithin Nobert, the Area Manager of South Railway Station Flag off the Drive. A MENU train is converted into a child friendly train and the prime agenda of Child Friendly Drive was to generate awareness among Passengers regarding the activities of Railway CHILDLINE.
As part of Swachh Bharath Abhiyan campaign Railway CHILDLINE Ernakulam organized a Dart Board games at Ernakulam South and North Railway stations. Kids love to play games. Therefore, the Dartboard game was organized with the objective of spreading awareness through playing. This enables children and passengers to learn about the importance of child rights and child protection. The competition was a delightful and enthusiastic event for the children and everyone who participated in the event was given an encouraging gift and a mega gift box provided for the winners. Parents also watched the event as enthusiastically as their children, the dartboard game event was able to spread awareness around 300 people on the importance of child rights and child protection.
As part of Swachh Bharath Abhiyan, Ernakulam Railway CHILDLINE organized a garden renovation and Railway premises cleaning programme named "Cleanliness inside out". The event was held on 4th and 6th of March 2020 in North and south Railway Stations in Ernakulam. The event was a huge success with the CHILDLINE staff and the Railway Cleaning Staff working together. After the cleaning and renovation process, the RCHD team were able to build a beautiful garden at both South and North Railway stations Ernakulam. RCHD team have undertaken such a task because the importance of natural conservation is vital to the survival of today’s society.