The 24-hour helpline for children in distress, Childline 1098, has had over 4.20 lakh calls since the facility became operational in Kochi in 2002, which opened up a new era in reaching out to children in pain.
The Kochi facility operates out of the Sneha Bhavan annexe near the KSRTC bus depot in the city and is manned 24x7 by volunteers and full-time workers. Fr. Manuel Gilton SDB, the Catholic priest who is the director of Childline here, said that the centre used to receive up to 30 calls a day until the facility was centralised about 18 months ago. The calls are down to about a dozen now though these calls are more serious.
Though calls to 1098 is centralised now in Thiruvananthapuram, calls to the landline number 0484-2204718 and 2205198 are directly received by Childline in the city.