COVID-19 Resources


Sachin Dilip Dighe has been working with CHILDLINE past 2 years. He joined as a case manager. After a year, he was promoted as a project coordinator. Currently, he manages a team of 19 people in three shifts at the Child Help Desk at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT).

I have 12 years of work experience in the development sector. But I never had the chance to work with the age group of 0-18. In 2018, I got the opportunity to work with CHILDLINE through CCDT (Committed Communities Development Trust). I joined as a case manager and intervened in several cases. Earlier, I used to think that children who run away from home or commit a crime are bad children. However, when I got the opportunity to work with them closely, my perception about them changed.

My key responsibility as the project coordinator is to ensure that the intervention of the rescued children is conducted as per the standard operating protocols. Whether it is general diary entry or the medical process or admitting the child in the shelter home, I ensure that everything is done properly. At the CSMT station, rescue and rehabilitation of the children is done at three levels. At the first level, the outreach worker identifies and rescues the children. In the second level, the case manager intervenes and talks to the child and maintains the documentation. At the third level the project manager and the counselor intervenes in the case.

My work is to ensure that the case manager is coordinating with the outreach worker in their shift. Moreover, if there is a new member in my team, I give them a proper orientation. I conduct mock sessions on how to spread awareness about CHILDLINE. While intervening a child, how to collect as much information possible from the child within a short time and document it. We conduct team meetings twice in a month. During such meetings, I organise team and capacity building exercises as well as recreational activities like communication games, perception games and games to improve concentration to keep my team motivated. I also conduct group discussions in which each member of my team share problems faced during their daily duty and work collectively towards finding solutions. During the lockdown many games and discussion sessions were conducted online.

Apart from this, I focus on building rapport with the stakeholders, RPF, GRP, cleaning staff, station director, Ticket checker, shoe polishers and motivating the staff to do the same. We make a monthly activity plan and assign activities to each team member on how to engage the stakeholder, community and children. Preparing the overall strategy, planning and sharing with the staff are also part of my responsibilities. Since CHILDLINE is functioning at the CSMT station since 5 years we have built a good rapport with them. They cooperate with us.

When the lockdown started, CSMT station was completely shut down. Our desk was functional from May 15th 2020 with only two staff members. Apart from CHILDLINE, only GRP and RPF were present at the station. We were coordinating with the GRP. If any Shramik train was arriving or departing or if they identify a child, the GRP would call and share details with us. We would guide the GRP and they would do the entire process of intervention. In June and July, GRP rescued and rehabilitated three children at night. At that time, CHILDLINE did not have permission to work at the child help desk at night. GRP traced the address of two out of three children and restored them with their family. One child whose address could not be traced was admitted to the Mankhurd shelter home. I was coordinating with the GRP throughout the night.

We majorly receive run away cases and lost and found cases at CSMT station. Reasons for running away from home vary. Sometimes, children run away from home because they have fought at home, face difficulty in studies or parents scold them. Many children run away from home for jobs or simply to roam around metro city like Mumbai. Last year, major cases of runaway have come from Odisha Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

As a project coordinator, I work closely with my team and apply my experiences as a case manager to develop new strategies to do more outreach and spread awareness about CHILDLINE. When we rescue children, I try to identify their needs and fulfill them by coordinating them with the existing government set up.

Since lot of children arrive at CSMT station via local trains, I have developed strategies to ensure that more children are rescued at the satellite stations. Previously, only 1-2 team members were present at the satellite stations. After December 2019, I have started sending more team members to satellite stations. We conducted awareness sessions with the boot polishers, RPF staff and ticket checkers at the satellite stations. We provided them with all the information and asked them to call 1098, if they come across any vulnerable child. Before lockdown, platforms 1-7 were satellite stations. After lockdown we have extended our services to the satellite stations of Bhyculla, Masjid Bunder and Sandhurst Road. In the coming months, if the frequency of the trains will increase, more children will come via trains, therefore rescue numbers will go up.

Further plans include working with the families of construction workers who live between Sandhurst road and Masjid Bunder. Before lockdown, we had begun working with them on the de-addiction programme. Due to legal issues of the railway authorities, the families had moved back to their villages. Currently, the families have returned from their villages. We are preparing a plan to start the de-addiction programme with them once again. Currently, we are doing the mock sessions on how to conduct awareness programmes and implement them with the community.

2 March 2021

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