Restaurant steps up to the plate to help India’s “Railway Children”

The Crafty Indian restaurant in Shipley is launching a fund-raising campaign to help ease the plight of India’s street children.

Restaurant owner Harry Khinda has signed up to become a charity partner for Railway Children – a voluntary organisation which provides protection and shelter for  thousands of children forced to live on the streets, through poverty, abuse, violence and neglect.

Over the coming months, he will be organising various fund-raising events and activities to support the charity.

To kick off the campaign, the craft beer and Indian street food venue, on Bradford Road, will be asking for a discretionary £1 contribution from each customer on top of their bill. It’s hoped that this will raise around £100 a week and more than £5,000 over the course of the year, rising gradually as the easing of Covid restrictions allows more diners into the premises. The Crafty Indian will then top up the total with its own weekly donation. Any customers who don’t wish to donate will be given the choice to opt out.

Harry has witnessed first-hand the suffering and deprivation of India’s street children during visits to relatives in New Delhi.

He said. “I’ve seen with my own eyes the lives these children are forced to live – or should I say “exist”. The future is bleak, with no food or decent clothes, no education and often no parents around to look out for them. This leaves them very vulnerable and at risk from all kinds of dangers.

“For all of India’s advancements in recent decades, it’s still a very poor nation, where the rich look after themselves and the poor don’t stand a chance. As I’m in a position to do something about it, I feel that now, more than ever, is the time to take action. As a street food venue, there’s a sort of synergy to supporting a charity that feeds children living on the streets.

“I’ve chosen a smaller charity with lower overheads, so I can be confident that the money quickly gets to the streets to start working, with more of our donations going directly to the cause.”

Railway Children’s Corporate Partnerships Manager Mary McLaughlin said: “We’re delighted to welcome The Crafty Indian on board as a charity partner. Thanks to our corporate partners and the generosity of their customers, we were able to reach and protect 15,822 vulnerable children last year. Each £1 donated goes a long way in the developing world so, for example, 89p would pay for a day’s nutritious meals for one child staying in a Railway Children Shelter.

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“Over 11 million children live on the streets of India, running away from abuse, violence and poverty. Thousands use the extensive railway network to get to the cities, where they hope to find a better life. They arrive at the vast, chaotic railway stations only to find themselves lost, alone and scared, with no idea where to go or what to do. Their dreams brutally shattered, they end up living on the platforms. Our outreach workers spend time with children, gaining their trust and providing a safe place to stay while we work out the best long-term solution for their individual circumstances.

“Over the past 18 months, as the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded and India has been particularly impacted, our work has evolved to adapt to the changing needs of the vulnerable community we exist to support. We’re now using some of the donations received to deliver monthly emergency food and essentials hampers to families of children we have previously reunited, who are now on the brink of survival, having lost all means of income.”

For further information about the Railway Children charity please visit: www.railwaychildren.org.uk

For further information about the Crafty Indian Restaurant please visit: www.thecraftyindian.com