Dreams on Wheels

A situational review conducted by Plan India grass root partner CHETNA in May 2005 on children living and working on 8 railway stations between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Bhopal yielded important insights on the condition and struggles of these children. A total of 682 children were found on the 8 railway stations with the male to female ration being a staggering 8:1.

The study found that these children were living in extremely vulnerable situations that included begging, rag picking, selling refilled water bottles, shoe shining, sweeping, vending or performing on the trains. There was no secure place for children to keep their money or other belongings.

Shockingly, a large number of these children were drug addicts and were desperate to break free of their addiction. The Dreams on Wheels project was implement between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh in 2005 with the aim to support these children. The project worked on directly engaging with children, sensitising stakeholders and advocating for child friendly policies.

A major success of the project was to put in place a mechanism that was effective in ensuring quick identification of any new child on a station and therefore increasing chances of his or her rehabilitation before he or she became used to life on the platform.

After nine years of working with these children, the Dreams on Wheels project concluded in 2015.

Key Achievements

  • The number of children repatriated into families or system was at 5,467
  • 813 children were rehabilitated from substance abuse
  • 1,136 children were mainstreamed into formal education
  • 290 Child Welfare Committee members from 70 districts were oriented and trained to ensure the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act
  • Five homes were provided necessary supports to ensure child protection