This charity is an international non-government
organisation (NGO) working with 40 partners in India,
East Africa and the UK
to help street children and young ‘runaways’. Its unique focus is to
intervene as early as possible to try to help them avoid the abuse,
exploitation and corruption that they will meet as children living on the
streets of the world’s mega cities. The best opportunity is to reach
out to them as they arrive in the railway stations of South Asia and
Eastern Europe, or the bus stations of Africa and Latin
America, hence the name ‘Railway Children’.
I founded the charity after a somewhat traumatic encounter
with a young streetgirl on a Mumbai railway station who was (presumably
under adult coercion) whipping herself to elicit sympathy and alms.
Initially I got involved with Amnesty International’s Children’s Rights
Network, then became their representative on the newly formed Consortium
for Street Children, and did there a risk assessment of being a street
child - identifying both causes and consequences. This identified a
gap - the fact that no established NGO focused specifically on early
intervention. The first few days - even hours - are critical, when a
child is both easy prey to the first person who seems to offer help and
also is most ready to accept help to consider options that are positive for
the child’s future.
I retired as Chairman in December 2010, after 15 years, and
am now Founder Ambassador of the charity.
For more information, please click on this link to the
Railway Children’s website, www.railwaychildren.org.uk
for Street Children
Founded in 1993, the Consortium for Street Children (CSC) is an umbrella
charity which now has 60 NGO members working in over 100 countries in the
world, many through local partners. Its purpose is to lobby
governments to provide systematic support for such children so that they
receive their basic rights as outlined in the United Nations Convention on
the Rights of the Child, to raise awareness of the scale and vulnerability
of these children, and to build the capacity and effectiveness of charities
working for street children by encouraging co-operation, joint programmes
and the sharing of best practice.
I was Co-Chair of the CSC from 1998 until the end of 2008,
and still take an active interest in its activities and meetings.
For more information about the CSC and its members, click
on this link to their website, www.streetchildren.org.uk
Children’s Human Rights Network (CHRN)
I became a member of the AIUK Children’s Rights Network (then called ‘The
Working Group for Children’) in 1990, after my encounter with the abused
young girl in Mumbai. I subsequently became Chair of the Network and
am currently the (voluntary) Advisor to Amnesty (UK) on children’s
rights. This involves ensuring communication on children’s rights
abuse cases to the 8,000 UK
members of the Network who will campaign for justice for these children and
providing input to future Amnesty national and international campaigns on
aspects of relevance to children.
I am with other national sections’ children’s rights groups
lobbying the International Secretariat to give children’s rights greater
priority in the 2011-16 strategic plan, following Amnesty UK’s endorsement
of my resolution at the 2009 AGM in Swansea. The 2012 AGM passed
unanimously a resolution calling for research into abuses against street
children in Brazil for a campaign prior to the Football World Cup 2014 and
To view the AIUK Children’s Rights Network website
(campaign cases, news, resources and events) or to join the Children’s
Human Rights Network, please click on this link, www.amnesty.org.uk/chrn.
Work in the Methodist Church
I have been a youth & children’s leader in local Methodist churches for
over 50 years, and am currently leading the small Sunday Club at Nantwich
Methodist Church Centre every Sunday morning, and am involved in various
other regular events for children at the church - a Saturday morning club
for children aged 4-11, a monthly Sunday afternoon ‘Praise & Fun’
meeting for young children and a monthly Pizza & DVD evening for young
people of secondary school age.
I am also a member of the Methodist Church Chester &
Stoke District Child Safeguarding Group and one of the Safeguarding
Trainers for churches in the District. I am one of four consultants
on the issue that any church worker in the District can contact should they
have a situation on which advice is desirable or necessary.
I was a trustee of the Methodist Relief & Development
Fund from 1996-2000 - for further information about its programmes, click
this link to its website, www.mrdf.org.uk.
engagements and events
I give illustrated talks on the Railway Children to churches, schools,
clubs etc., and illustrated talks on children’s rights and street children
to school and university Amnesty groups and Key Stage 3 pupils as part of
the Citizenship syllabus. To request a talk or presence at an event,
For other than school or university talks I request a donation to Railway
Children in lieu of any fee or expenses.