The work of the volunteers begins right from identifying a runaway on the railway platform to safely handing them over to parents
You see them everywhere. Their hands slide through the window at a traffic light, asking if you have change to spare. The same tiny hands sift through a pile of dirt to collect recyclable items. Barefoot they run, on railway platforms and in crowded market places. Rejected, judged, sometimes just pushed away, they don’t bear a face in the minds of thousand of Mumbaikars, stamped under one category — runaway kids.
According to the Missing Bureau Crime Report:
1 child is registered missing every 8 minutes and 200 children arrive at various stations and junctions in Mumbai.
“Sa – Samta (equality), Ma – Mamta (affection), To – Tohfa (gift) and L – Lakshya (goal). In an imbalanced society, ‘Samatol’ originating from the word ‘samta; meaning ‘balance’ in Marathi aims to attain it,” says Vijay Jadhav, Founder, Samatol Foundation.
Registered in 2006, Samatol Foundation is a non-profit Social Organization, which works for the upliftment and rehabilitation of runaway kids. It has successfully reunited over 10,000 children with their families in the last 13 years.
They have a team of volunteers working on Railway Stations that observe platforms to pick runaway children from 5-15 years of age.
The work of the volunteers begins right from identifying a runaway on the railway platform to safely handing them over to his/her parents.
“Identifying a lost/runaway child on a railway platform may seem easy on the surface, but taking custody is very difficult. In most cases, the children are so used to staying independently, that they don’t agree to go with the volunteers. To gain their trust and
During the counselling process, most children reveal their family details. These details are conveyed to the contact person of the respective state working for Samatol. Once the family members are traced, they are asked to attend the farewell ceremony held on the last day of the camp.
The child needs to be registered at the nearest Railway Police Station and thereafter taken for a Medical Examination at an allocated government hospital in accordance with the registered number at the Police Station. The volunteers, meanwhile, try to trace the child’s family and/or relatives.
The newly found children are accommodated at temporary shelters and Government-run observation homes till the root cause of their running away is known.
In order to help runaway kids, download the Samatol App and become a ‘Samatol friend.’ If you ever come across a runaway kid, you can strike a conversation, click a picture and send the details to the nearest junction volunteer and Railway Protection force in the area, the volunteers will come to rescue the kids.
Samatol Foundation, Gala No. 50 & 55
Dadoji Konddev Stadium, Khartan Road
Thane West, 400601
Tel No.: 022-65686661, 25454838 Mob No.: 9892961124