Every child loves to play with toys. But not all of them are fortunate to have them.
Now, the Railway Childline has pitched in for such children from underprivileged backgrounds by collecting toys from people under a project named ‘Kalikkalam’ .
People can donate either new toys or their children’s excess or unused toys in good condition as part of the project. “We will distribute the toys to children below five years in shelter homes or from poor families. They will be distributed through the Integrated Child Development Scheme next week and donors can derive satisfaction from spreading joy among the less privileged children,” said Shano Jose, coordinator of Railway Childline.
The project has been conceived to alleviate the mental stress and loneliness of little children from impoverished families who used to go to anganwadis but have largely remained locked inside their own homes since the pandemic. Donors can either personally drop the toys at the Railway Child Help Desk on the first platform of South railway station or courier it. Railway Childline staff may themselves collect toys from donors within the city limits.
‘Kalikkalam’ is the latest of a slew of child-friendly projects being implemented by the Railway Childline since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Immediately after the first lockdown in March last year, Railway Childline Ernakulam had devised a game, Wonder Train, to engage children and their families to help them beat their boredom and establish a bonding among family members. Children were given a task every day and they had to complete it with the help of their parents and post the image in the Facebook page of Railway Childline. A Childline awareness video and various aspects of the POCSO Act were also relayed alongside the game.
The Railway Childline had also ramped up follow-up counselling of children they had rescued and restored with the families over the years during the lockdown period when train services had remained completely stalled.
In the three-and-a-half years since turning operational at the South railway station, the Railway Childline has rescued 573 children wandering along platforms and trains. It is being operated by Childline and Sahrudaya, the social service wing of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese with the support of the Southern Railway.