There are many reason that children runaway from their homes or from their caregivers. It could be to find work, escape ill treatment at home or simply follow the lights of the city with its promises of a better life. Girls are as likely as boys to run away from homes due to parental neglect or dysfunctional families. Many of them land on the country’s railway platforms, where they beg, steal or do menial jobs, such as sweeping trains, to survive. Very often, they fall victim to child traffickers or become vulnerable to other forms of exploitation.
Personal touch helped to reconnect and restoration
CHILDLINE India Foundation received a call that the Railway Protection Force (RPF) had found an unattended child on the railway station. The team immediately reached the RPF office to meet the child. This 9-year old boy was not willingly providing any information. A CHILDLINE India Foundation team member tried to get the child to open up and even offered him food. But even two hours later the child proved very reluctant to share any information. The efforts continued with the RPF officer joining in. After some friendly talk, the child finally shared his home address and expressed his wish to return home. CHILDLINE India Foundation team member along with the RPF handed over the child to his parents. On reaching the child’s home, they found his distraught mother weeping and other family members still searching. After a brief interaction, the mother informed the CHILDLINE India Foundation member and the RPF that the child had runaway twice before. The child was returned to the mother after verification of documents by the RPF. The CHILDLINE India Foundation team member informed the mother to take the child for counselling sessions. After weeks of follow up, the child was found to be responding positively to the sessions and regularly going to school.
(*Name and details changed to protect the child)