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I Don't Dance for the Devil

Updated: Mar 1

Hello Readers,

I'm Shreya and I'm one of the main characters in Caroline's books about street children in India. Out of all the children in the books, Caroline says my story was the hardest to write. The most heartbreaking.

In the first book I set off a chain of events where I take everyone from

Bengaluru, all the way to Mumbai where I used to live with my horrible brother.

“One day, he bought me a new dress,” continued Shreya. “It was pink and silver with tiny tassels and a wide skirt. When I put it on it made me feel special. I started dancing, swishing, swirling and skipping. I loved it. But El, of course, had a motive. He wanted me to entertain his friends.

“He invited men to watch me dance. He made them pay money and said I could only keep the dress if I danced for those slimeballs.

“They’d sit in a circle and El would play music. ‘Watch my beautiful sister dance,’ he said.

“They all jeered and tried to touch my new dress with their filthy hands. It was disgusting. I was ten years old and my own brother was trying to sell me. I ran out and changed back into my rags. Then I went back into the room and threw the dress at El’s feet.

“‘I don’t dance for the devil,’ I said.”

David Maidment, the founder of Railway Children charity, will never forget the haunted eyes of a young girl being cruelly exploited on an Indian railway. It was a life-changing moment for him, and a chance encounter that has since saved and changed the lives of some of the world's most vulnerable children. That girl is me. Caroline wanted to give David a tiny hope that the little girl ended up happily. Maybe it's true, we'll never know.

Our story was published on Friday 1st March 2024. I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you so much,



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