At the Coimbatore railway station in India, homeless children are a common sight. Many arrive by train – they are stowaways taking desperate measures to escape extreme poverty, abuse and neglect. Sadly, they fail to realize that life on the streets will only prolong their misery.
Fortunately, there is a group of guardian angels who have made it their mission to identify these suffering children and guide them toward help. They are the railway workers of Coimbatore who have teamed up with Don Bosco Anbu Illam, a Salesian home for street children.
Don Bosco Anbu Illam is dedicated to helping rehabilitate these children by giving them an education and shelter, reuniting them with their families, and working with social service agencies to support the families.
Through their partnership with the railway workers, Don Bosco Anbu Illam is able to extend their reach to more children that they may otherwise never see.
The program was initiated by Suresh Babu, a community organizer who approached a group of railway workers about ways they could help. His request came straight from the heart, as Suresh himself had been a street child who was saved by Don Bosco Anbu Illam. Today, he is married with a child and is giving back to the organization that made such a profound difference in his life.
When Suresh explained that these children would be forced into begging and could be sexually abused, the railway employees took immediate action.
Because street children are usually wary of strangers, the Salesians teach the railway workers how to approach the children and start a conversation with them. Once they have gained the child's trust, they call Don Bosco Anbu Illam to come rescue the child.
With this innovative and valuable program in place, workers are on the lookout for runaways in every nook and cranny of the station. As one railway worker commented, "An abandoned or runaway child who arrives at the Coimbatore junction will definitely be saved."
Programs like this one in India relies on donations from generous people like you. Please join our mission to help needy children, in India and around the globe. Your help brings children off the street and prepares them for a life as part of society.
Photo taken by M. Periasamy.