Railway Children - Vital Update
Updated: Jan 31
The Vital railway project protects hundreds of children living by the dangerous tracks by providing both immediate support and long-term solutions so that they can stay safe.
What Vital does
The project at Mallikpur station seeks to reach a child early, before an abuser can get to them. Vital helps them in the short-term and long-term to make a real, lasting difference in each child's life.
Vital outreach workers spend time gaining the trust of the children by providing them with someone to talk to and a safe place to stay, while they work out the best long-term solution for their individual circumstances.
The Vital Safe Space provides children with access to educational support; counselling inputs; recreational activities; and programmes on Child Rights, through which they have formed their own Children's Group, Aalap.
Vital also works with agencies, local Primary and High schools and government bodies to raise awareness in communities through CINI, and with families and shelters to reunite children with their parents wherever possible!
Choosing the location
Mallikpur Station presents somewhat of a triple threat as it is a source, transit and destination area for human trafficking. Despite this, and before Vital's involvement, the Station did not have sufficient protective services nor surveillance. Traffickers take advantage of this lack of security and plan to take the children to larger stations such as Sealdah or Howrah. The bus connections surrounding Mallikpur station also provide key routes through which trafficking from the source area is done.
By rescuing children at their source station Vital are reducing the amount of children going to Sealdah, which is the largest station in the area and also the most notorious hotspot for traffickers.
During Vital's previous railway project, the crime rate amongst the children had drastically dropped. With this project, they have exceeded the predicted outreach for the first year (300), with 345 children now accessing the Safe Space at the Station!
On their most recent trip to Kolkata in November 2018, Vital proudly inaugurated a Child Help Desk on the station platform. This will serve as the first point of contact for reporting and enquiring about missing and/or trafficked children.
The Vital children LOVE the Safe Space, where they are helped with their homework, learn about Child Rights, and play with their friends!
If you would like to help with this Vital work please visit the website www.vitalforchildren.org where you can find out more, make a donation and find out about volunteering.