Children’s Day: Book on ‘Railway Children’ released

Bangalore:  A book focussing on the lives of runaway children, who make trains and platforms their homes, is released at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) on Thursday on the occasion of Children’s Day.

The book — Rescuing Children from Railway Platforms — has been authored by Lalitha Iyer and Malcolm Harper. It is being launched jointly by city-based NGO Society for Assistance to Children in Difficult Situation (SATHI) and Vikasana, the student-run social service initiative of IIM-B.

A railway platform is the last place for a child, but for most of the country’s missing children, it’s home. Every child on these platforms is fragile, agitated and confused and lack of timely intervention has an irreversible impact on the child.

So what is its connection with fresh graduates of the premier B-school in the city? This was the talking point at the IIM-Bangalore on Thursday. ‘Rescuing Children from Railway Platforms’, a research by development and change facilitation consultants Dr Lalitha Iyer and Malcolm Harper, was the subject under discussion and the underlying theme was why managerial practices need to be applied to social engineering as well.

Inability of multiple agencies working towards rehabilitation to provide efficient results calls for superior managerial skills, said Dr Iyer. “Every child is like a client, who needs immediate security and support. If he has been there (on the railway platform) for months, his nature changes and organization should be able to find alternative process to suit his needs.”

Why should the young bright management graduate move to the social work? The panel thinks, there are many more opportunities here, even in terms of money apart from the opportunity to grow as a human being.

Rahul Tandon, vice-president, Adayana Inc and an IIM-A alumni, said cited IIMPACT, an NGO by IIM-A graduates providing educational opportunity to girls from socially and economically disadvantaged communities, “A person’s growth is not defined by the knowledge or profession, but the growth as a human being.”

“The training at the management institutions allows us to think big and the challenge for us is to create an organization or institute that can deliver big results without losing sight of quality,” he added.

Former Lokayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde said that few of us are aware of the lives of such children. “The lack of knowledge and compassion is prevalent among the educated as well. There should be a change,” he said.