VolkerRail began sponsoring the Railway Children Charity after Steve Cocliff, Managing Director felt compelled to do something decisive to both raise the profile of the fantastic work the Railway Children is undertaking but also to step well outside his comfort zone in order to raise as much money as possible for the Charity's ongoing commitments.
'As a Parent, I was immediately moved by the plight of children, who were the same age as my children, begging and sleeping on or around the railways of India in order to survive. The rail industry recognises the dangers inherent with being in close proximity to a live rail network and the thought of children dodging fast moving trains just to feed themselves or younger siblings filled me with horror.'
In July 2011 Barry Kennedy, VolkerRails Plant Director and Andrew Wilkins, Finance Director along with other VolkerRail staff cycled from London to Paris and in October 2011 Steve Cocliff joined others in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for the Railway Children Charity. Other fund raising activites are planned for 2012 including a triathlon and 'Go Mad' days.
The idea behind Railway Children began in 1993 when David Maidment, Chairman of Railway Children (former Controller of Safety Policy with British Rail), was on a business trip in Mumbai. David was deeply moved by the many street children he saw at the main railway terminal, and was haunted by the image of a 7 year old girl beating herself to elicit sympathy and money. On his return he researched all organisations working to help street children and saw a gap in the market, no one was focussing on early intervention. In 1995 Railway Children was launched, to stop the abuse of children living alone and at risk on the streets, through early intervention.
Railway Children works with over 26 partner organisations with 117 projects worldwide across Africa, Asia, and the UK. Last year they helped 27,756 street children around the world.