International

British kids walk for India’s homeless

Striding to serve: Students from Papplewick during the walk.

Striding to serve: Students from Papplewick during the walk.  

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Raise £18,000 to help support a Child Help Desk at Salem railway station

A great many lost, abandoned, or homeless children wander into India’s railway stations every year, from where they are often trafficked or exploited. Last Sunday, the same day as the London Marathon, about 170 British school boys, aged 6-13, took part in a 10-mile walk to raise money for such children in India.

The children from Papplewick, a private school for boys in Ascot, managed to raise £18,000 (about ₹16.5 lakh). The money would help run Child Help Desk at the Salem station, established last year by Railway Children, a U.K.-based charity that helps street children, abandoned children, or those at risk of trafficking in India, East Africa and even in Britain.

“It was heartwarming to see children so charitable, and even little ones walking with their parents, siblings and also their pet dogs to help kids in another country,” said Saritha Selvan, whose son participated in the walk. The funds raised are expected to help the programme protect 876 children for a year.

Trafficking point

A recent survey by Railway Children found that “two or three children arrive unaccompanied at Salem station every day” and that it was “easy for these vulnerable children to be lost without trace.”

Salem has been reported to be a notorious transit point for child trafficking, from where young boys and girls often get sold into factories as child labour. Child Help Desks aim to get to the children before the traffickers do, and provide the traumatised kids a safe place to stay until a more permanent shelter is found.

The Child Help Desk at the Salem station was opened in July last year. It assists abandoned, missing, or runaway children who end up in the station premises, and aims to restore them to their family or provide necessary assistance in coordination with government agencies.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:37:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/british-kids-walk-for-indias-homeless/article23702611.ece

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