William and Kate meet vulnerable street children in New Delhi


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have met some of India's poorest and most vulnerable children fending for themselves at New Delhi railway station.

Kate and William heard first-hand from a number of street children about how they had run away from home due to abuse or poverty. They ended up at Delhi station where they were a target for prostitution, people trafficking or sexual and physical abuse.

The royals visited a drop-in centre run by Salaam Baalak Trust at the capital's station - where on average 6,600 children travel to each year, often on their own.

The charity helps children aged from five to 18 years providing food, education, healthcare and shelter.

Kate, wearing a striking full-length patterned red dress, and William first joined in a lesson with boys who were living in the nearby station.

The couple sat down and William asked: "What's the game you're playing? Ah, karom board. Can you show us how to play?"

Flicking the draught, he laughed as it went too far and invited his wife to have a go.

The charity's director Sanjoy Roy told the couple about the charity's work: "The boys come here for four hours of lessons and some food every day. When they're not here, they're at the railway station."

William asked: "Is that dangerous?"

Mr Roy replied: "Yes, so they try to stick together.

"We look after around 7,000 kids a year, but every day around 40 to 50 new children arrive at the station.

"They often have to deal with trauma, learning difficulties, ADHD and we have special programmes to help them with that.

"These children that we look after are the most vulnerable. Some may have their eyes gauged out or hands hacked off.

"The primary reasons they run away from home are misunderstanding with step-parents, physical and mental abuse, incredible poverty or a life event such as forced marriage."

The charity has six homes, 21 contact centres and three Childline centres near stations, bus stands and railway stations across Delhi.

William asked: "What can we do to help?"

Mr Roy replied: "Spread the word. People think of them as street kids, beggars, thieves but they are just children.

"They deserve an education, future and a life. They have a right to a childhood."

The Salaam Baalak Trust was set up in 1998 with the proceeds from the film Salaam Bombay, which told the story of vulnerable street children.