THE RAILWAY CHILDREN PROJECT
The Railway Children Project is an international project, founded in 1995 David Maidment, running across India and Africa. It aims to support children who are lost, abandoned or who live in stations, such as Howrah. Ashalayam has been in charge of Howrah Station, one of South East Asia’s busiest train stations, and its surroundings since 2009.
Ashalayam outreach workers and peer workers (former street children who are now employed by the NGO) go to Howrah Station to speak to the Railway children, providing them with advice ad support. Their presence on the platforms helps raise awareness of the project. Sweepers, vendors, police and railway employees form a unique railway community which can be motivated to help transform the lives of these vulnerable young people.
The “House of Fun,” a drop-in centre, at Howrah Station welcomes children daily. Caregivers provide food, medical attention, games and tuition, as well as the opportunity to talk to a counsellor.