HYDERABAD: A little girl was crying on a platform at the Secunderabad railway station. She had run away from home in Bannari district of Maharashtra . Lost and clueless in the big city, the girl had nowhere to go, when NGO Divya Disha came to her rescue and provided her shelter.
To protect the rights of many children, lost or abandoned, the South Central Railway in collaboration with NGO Divya Disha has opened a help desk on platform No 1 at the Secunderabad railway station to prevent runaway children from falling into wrong hands.
“Anyone who spots a child worker or a runaway child can report about him/her at these help desks. Currently there are three enforcement teams working round-the-clock in railway stations to rescue children. Two to four children are being rescued on a daily basis,” Isidore Phillips, director of Divya Disha, said.
“As per the Supreme Court guidelines and Juvenile Justice Act 2005, any big institution like railways can seek the support of NGOs to trace runaway, kidnapped and abducted children on a railway station. So SCR has collaborated with Divya Disha to take forward this initiative,” Anjaneyulu, CI Secunderabad railway station, said.
The child help desk has thus far rescued several children. “We rescue children who run away, reported missing, orphans, beggars, rag-pickers and victims of sexual abuse, when they are mostly found in and around the railway premises,” said Sumalatha, a member from the child help desk. Phillips urged parents to educate their children and provide them with basic information, such as their home address, telephone number and the names of their parents, along with a nearby landmark
“Till now we have rescued about 37 children at the railway station. Some have run away from home, while others are begging children’s gang. Our team members have rescued several children aged between 6 and 18, who ran away from home, most of them from Maharashtra,” Phillip explained.
Apart from shelter, toys, first-aid and food will also be provided at the desk. The initiative will soon be extended to other key railway stations in the city and the State such as Nampally, Kacheguda, Warangal, Kazipet and Vikarabad, Phillip said.