A haven of peace for children at Jaipur station

Program start 1999
Impacted population 4,200

The FXB Daycare Center for Railway Children in Jaipur is a shelter for children living in the street and in the station, where they can wash, eat, rest and receive care.
200 children, aged between 5 and 18 years old, are welcomed there every year with an average of 40 children a day upon their arrival at the station.

Context

A child goes missing every 10 minutes in India. Only half of them are found. Some are abducted or sold to child traffickers; most run away to escape poverty, abuse or mistreatment by their families. They use the railway system to travel to the larger cities, where they hope to find a better life. But once on the platform at their arrival point, they find themselves lost and frightened in the midst of chaos, without knowing what to do.

They find themselves begging or picking up rags and garbage left behind by passengers. They are also easy prey for child traffickers who recruit them for criminal activities or force them into prostitution or forced labour.

 

Our action

Many long-distance trains go through Jaipur, making it a hub for tourism and trade and an attractive destination for young runaways. In collaboration with other NGOs and the railway police, FXB India Suraksha tries every day to intercept these children upon their arrival at the station. They are then placed in temporary care facilities while contact is made with their families to arrange for a reunification. If the negotiation is successful, the children are returned to their hometowns and cared for by protection committees set up by the government to ensure that reunification takes place in the best interests of the child. If family reunification isn’t possible, FXB and its partners work to place them into government programmes.

FXB Daycare Center

However, every day, children fall through the cracks, and many have been on the streets for far too long. Temporary shelters and already crowded government programs can no longer be an option for them.

The FXB Shelter welcomes 20 to 40 children from the streets and slums around the city every day. For these boys and girls aged 4 to 18, the FXB shelter is their only haven of peace and security. They come here to feed themselves, wash themselves, wash their clothes, rest from the chaos and receive appropriate medical and psychological care. Many try to escape from their harsh reality by consuming cheap psychotropic products such as Tip-Ex or paint thinners, so FXB teams also teach them about the risks linked to drug addiction and try to wean them off it. Children also benefit from informal education and basic computer training is offered to the older children.

Develop psycho-social and interpersonal skills

Considerable work is being undertaken to develop essential psycho-social and interpersonal skills that will help build the resilience of youth and help them become better integrated within society. Topics such as gender equality, sexual and reproductive health education, prevention of HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and violence, respect for oneself and others, leadership skills or financial planning are addressed throughout the sessions.

The FXB team is of course continually working to take these children off the streets and the clutches of traffickers by reuniting them with their family or placing them in foster families or government structures. Unfortunately, the older the child is, the more complex the work becomes.

This program can be implemented thanks to the support of Fonds pour Eux, the Raymond Barbey Foundation and Pomena Enfance.

Program impact

This shelter allows nearly 200 children a year to acquire the tools to envisage a more dignified future.

In March 2013, FXB was contacted by the organization Justice Venture International who had discovered juvenile children detained in a supposedly foster home in Jaipur, India. As a result of this investigation, FXB’s team conducted a joint raid with the state on March 12, 2013 on a house in the Gulabinagar neighborhood. During this operation, 51 children were released, 27 of whom were underage girls. The children came from different parts of the north-eastern part of the state, but also from other states. They had been promised the opportunity to receive a proper education, but during those 10 years, none of them ever went to school.  They lived in a very small room, in appalling health and hygiene conditions. Bags full of alcohol bottles and other suspicious objects were found in this room. This place has never even been legally registered. The children were very emotionally affected. The FXB team supervised and cared for them. Currently, all of the children are in a safe place. With the help of the authorities, FXB is currently taking steps to repatriate each child to their respective families.

 

 

Testimonial

All the children I have been with at Jaipur station, whether orphans or not, should never have to go through what I have gone through. FXB is the reason I got out of there.

Ramzaan Kaan, nominated for the "2016 International Children's Peace Prize".