The Railway Children of Mumbai
At the end of last year, I came across a charity called Railway Children.
The founder, David Maidment, set up the charity after an ordeal at a station in Mumbai in 1989. David, a railway manager in England for thirty years, had been undertaking a project in Australia. On his way home his plane stopped in Mumbai, and he decided to pay a visit to the family of a child he had sponsored through Save the Children. At one point, he found himself in a crowd of thousands, during the morning 'crush hour' at Churchgate Station in Mumbai, when he was confronted by a small girl of about six or seven who was holding out her hand, begging. David had been warned not to hand out money to beggars and he didn’t have any change.
As I hesitated, the small girl suddenly produced in her other hand a plaited whip she’d been holding behind her back and she began solemnly to lash herself across her bare back and shoulders. I stood rooted to the spot, stunned and shaken. The girl stopped, held out her hand and looked me in the face. Her eyes were dead, her mouth drooped, her hair was a tangled mess.
David was deeply traumatized by his experience and couldn’t get the haunting vision of the little girl out of his head. Just seven years later he had set up Railway Children, to help children running away from abuse, violence and poverty. Twenty-six years later, having raised millions of pounds, the charity has gone from strength to strength.
A donation just didn’t seem enough, and I asked myself what I could do to help? What skills did I have to help raise awareness for these poor children? That was when I had the idea of writing a book for children, to highlight the problems and, at the same time raise money for the charity. If I wrote a book that people would buy, I could give the proceeds to Railway Children.
That's why I began writing, The Railway Children of Mumbai. It isn’t available yet, in fact I've only just finished writing it, but this is a journey worth taking.
In future blogs I will tell you about how I had the privilege of meeting up with David Maidment, the progress of the book, the wonderful children in my Book Club at Cherry Tree Primary School who have helped me write the story, and there is even a tale about the Bishop of Dorchester to look forward to!
I will be contacting agents soon with a view to getting my book traditionally published. I will share my query letter and all the rejections I am bound to receive!
So climb on board and look forward to the next instalment!
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